Foreign currency shortage backtracks’ ESLSE

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Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE) claims that it is unable to access its own foreign currency prompt from local banks.
The state logistics giant that solely operates vessels in Ethiopia said that despite having huge amounts of foreign currency in banks it is unable to access it duly when it demands to settle service charges.
The enterprise mainly working with ports in Djibouti said that it has accrued sums that are supposed to be paid for the port service.
Roba Megersa, CEO of ESLSE, few weeks ago told Capital that the credit that ESLSE was supposed to pay to the port related services has faced delays because of the foreign currency crunch.
He said that his enterprise has ample resources at banks even in foreign currency but it is unable to access when it needs.
“We have USD 92 million that is deposited in banks but we are unable to access it when we want,” he explains. “We cannot access our own foreign currency from private banks that we deposited,” Roba said reminding why delays have occurred on payments that are due as a result the foreign currency shortage.
According to the CEO, through whole this challenge there is no cargo delay at Djibouti ports because of service payment hold up from the Ethiopian side.
“We have huge credits that are supposed to be paid to the port service, we are working with our Djibouti partners on mutual benefit and trust that has been built for several years. The operation at the port is gone under guarantee framework and undertaking. We are transporting fertilizer, wheat or other cargos that are transported from ports under the stated arrangement without any delay,” Roba added.
Besides port charge settlement the enterprise is affected by delay on foreign currency for the procurements of products that it demanded to add on its operation.
For instance ESLSE has established a project office for the building of two ultramax vessels that have a capacity of 65,000 DWT, while the hard currency issue has concerned the enterprise.
Currently, ESLSE manages the shipment of coal and fertilizer up to 70,000 tons on chartered vessels due to that the ultramax vessels are more economically viable to accommodate its consignment.
“If we get the finance it will be done within two years,” the CEO said. The two vessels may cost USD 70 million.
The flag carrier, ESLSE, is one of the oldest cross continent vessel operators in the world since it managed the first vessels in March 1964 and now the only in Africa.
Currently, it is mainly manages 11 dry cargo ships. From the stated, two vessels are tankers and the nine are general cargo vessels called ‘Handysize’ with the capacity of 28, 000 DWT.
Ethiopia loads its cargos from 340 ports in the world and ESLSE has agents that have been working for several decades.