Monday, May 20, 2024

Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics eyes new RoRo hub


The sole multimodal operator, Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics (ESL) steps up to make the Gelan Terminal a Roll-on/roll-off(RoRo) hub with a project connecting the Ethio-Djibouti Railway (EDR) line.
The terminal that was established in 2014 is currently operating as an exclusive vehicle handling facility, while the new design to make it a hub is expected to boost the handling capacity and operation to another level.
Mihretab Teklu, Deputy CEO for Port Terminal Service at ESL, said that the Gelan RoRo Terminal that is located about 25km east of Addis Ababa is expected to be a hub for RoRo cargos with in the coming couple of years.
“As per our design we are demanding to make the terminal to expand the handling capacity and to double from the current stage in the process,” he told Capital.
“At the current level, the facility has a capacity to handle up to 550 vehicles at a time, which is determined by the size of cars, but nonetheless the handling shall consider the through put of incoming and release of cargos,” he added.
He added that some other dry ports like Mojo, the biggest terminal, are handling incoming vehicle cargos at limited levels, “There will be an opportunity to include all incoming RoRo cargos at the new sufficient hub, which may support the multimodal service and cars that come through uni-modal process that are imported excluding ESL.”
“The major operation to transform the terminal into a hub is stretching a railway line that may connect with the EDR main line,” Mihretab explained.
According to the Deputy CEO, the terminal is about 10 km far from the main railway line.
Gelan was designed to manage container cargos while the infrastructure was not suitable to manage machines, due to that the facility was exclusively designed to handle vehicle cargos that come through multimodal and uni-modal.
“In the future we are targeting to change it to RoRo hub that shall handle car cargos with massive capacity under swift operations,” the Deputy CEO said.
Currently, the facility has utilized about 23 hectares.
“We have additional 15 hectares that has not been developed, so we have targeted to develop is with multipurpose warehouses that may manage bulk cargos,” he explained.
The railway line that passed through Endode Terminal, which is around Gelan area, shall be connected with the hub to create accessibility for vehicles that come through train.
“Connecting the railway line with Gelan will have an economic value and add efficiency to our operation,” he said, adding, “Currently; our experts with their counterparts at EDR are undertaking a study to connect the line. The first dray has been accomplished and it will be finalized in the near future.”
The Deputy CEO shared insights stating that at the beginning the railway project was considered to pass through economic hubs like dry port, industry parks and other but that was not done, “We had handled the project to connect the railway line with Mojo and Dire Dawa dry port.”
He said that connecting the Gelan facility with the main railway line will be a huge investment, “But if we have connections with the line, our handling capacity will be boosted and the comparative advantage to that degree will be significant.”
“Now we are focusing on finalizing the detailed study and we expect to make applicable implementations after two years,” he added.
In August 2022, EDR embarked on an eco-friendly vehicle cargo transporting operation, while the service was done up to Endode Terminal. The cargos were expected to be transported to Gelan through trucks, which is expensive as per the explanation of the Deputy CEO for Port Terminal Service at ESL.
EDR has 20 wagons that can transport about 240 vehicles in a single fleet. A single wagon can carry up to 14 vehicles and the number depends on the size of the vehicles.
Similarly, ELS has also bought 17 car carriers that are transporting vehicles from the ports in Djibouti to the center.
ESL has eight dry ports and terminal and two more will be added in the near future.
In related developments, the terminal that is located in Mekele 783 km north of Addis Ababa resumed operation as of Thursday May 4, after almost three years of interruptions because of the conflict that transpired in northern Ethiopia.

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