ESLSE, Djibouti’s port management harmony pays off

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strong coordination between ports management in Djibouti and Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Service Enterprise (ESLSE) accelerates the cargo handling and has further improved lifting capacity.
47.2 percent of the 1.8 million tons of fertilizer cargo procured for this year has already reached at the port and almost all of them are transported to the destination in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia, which is the biggest population without sea outlets in the world, is mainly using ports in Djibouti which is connected by three roads and a railway network for cargo import.
Roba Megersa, CEO of ESLSE, said cargo shipment and handling in ports and moving to a central destination has massively grown in the past couple of years. This operation is marvelous despite COVID 19 affecting the logistics industry he expounded.
He said that the current management at the ports in Djibouti has strongly improved its leadership quality which has helped the two sides to understand each other thus accelerating the activity on the logistics sector. “They listed us and tried their best to fulfill our demands. They are working strongly to solve any problem that may occur,” he told Capital explaining the reasons that led to the registration of achievements in the sector.
“The leadership in Djibouti is now highly qualified and eager to achieve more. Its delivery time in Djibouti and the leadership mainly in Doraleh Multipurpose Port (DMP) has dramatically changed,” he praised the partnership.
He said that the performance in Djibouti this year is in very good hands, “We are not surprised since in the past we shared our plan in advance which helps them in preparation and handling of the cargo properly.”
“On our part, we have also improved our coordination to move cargos as soon as possible. They have also hosted us on the ports when we demanded, which is a good leadership of the port management.”
“Dispatching trucks and vessels on our side has also improved which helps to accelerate the logistics activity in general,” he said reminding that the procurement scheme, time and the poor supply chain were a problem for congesting ports in Djibouti that is now improved.
He showed the improvement of the procurement and import of 200,000 tons of sugar that concluded prior to October 2020.
Traditionally, the government bodies procured goods in similar time when the budget released on the period like in October making the port very busy for some period since several vessels arrive at similar time and ports become ideal in other months.
“Unlike previous trend similar to that of sugar, huge amount of fertilizer cargo have been procured early,” he said expressing the appreciation of the improvement of procurement approach. He further explained that some government offices managements help to boost the activity of ports and ESLSE.
With regards to the delay of wheat procurement which ESLSE had expected the government would buy the 750,000 metric tons but didn’t follow through except few amounts procured through CFR scheme (Which suppliers cover the cost and freight up to the buyers’ destination which consumes significant amount of foreign currency) in comparison to FOB scheme, he recommended that, “It is supposed to be improved.”
Regarding fertilizer, the country has bought 1.8 million ton, which was 1.1 million ton and 1.45 million ton a year before and last year. Roba explained the reason for the increment of fertilizer consignment by stating that, “Besides the new irrigation based agriculture activity, the demand of fertilizer increased since the cultivation land is expanded.”
In addition to the volume increasing massively, the handling of discharge from port and dispatch to the center has also increased significantly.
“The discharge to silo from vessels has shown frequent records in this year unlike the past that helps to shorten the anchorage time of vessels,” Roba explains, “the reception facility for vessel on the discharge of fertilizer or wheat is supposed to be silos, while in the past we have been using trucks for the discharge in the past, that halted this time.”
Recently, Djibouti Port SA (PDSA), which manages DMP and others in Djibouti, reported by mentioning that Djibouti’s port operations have set a new delivery record of 17,444 tonnes of fertilizer loaded onto 392 trucks and 22 railcars, without addressing the operations of unloading huge volumes into silos. “We are delighted with the performance of Djibouti’s port facilities,” PDSA explains.
“It is a good motivation for us to receive your recognition. I am also very happy to extend my special thanks to all of our operational, technical teams, ESLSE and the Ethiopian transport companies. We are now all one team and that is our strength,” Director General of the DMP-PDSA, Djama Ibrahim Darar, said.
PDSA said that it should be noted that this is the first time that such good figures for the delivery of bagged products had achieved within the two port entities.
It added that this fast flow comes from the back of a new global operations strategy, put into effect for the 2021 season, which will have the impact of significantly reducing the stay of ships at the quayside. This strategy includes unloading on fixed conveyors and delivery on trucks but also by rail.
“They have a capacity to discharge over 20,000 tones of fertilizer per day,” Roba told Capital.
“Mainly for this year and last year, I am grateful on Djibouti ports’ leaders,” he applauded
He said that besides the discharge dispatching, the cargo have increased since the price of trucks have improved which encouraged them to participate on fertilizer transport, while controlling the dispatch and contract administration which have been successful.
“The railway has also been operating in a good manner with regards to fertilizer shipment. In two months it has transported the cargo that it initially used to transport the whole year, last year,” he added.
Every day a single railway which translates to 67 trucks is transporting 2,560 tones of fertilizer to the centre form port.
So far 850,000 tones of fertilizer have arrived at the port and 92 percent of it moved to the centre.
“Traditionally vessels have to stay at the port for 28 days on average which is now less than one day because of planned procurement and FOB scheme, which is a system where the freight is carried out buyers,” he said.
According to Roba, the activity on the Djibouti side is very impressive not only on ports but on other transit and relates service.
“Port of Tadjourah is mainly giving a service for our vessels and others that we chartered for the import of steel and coal,” he says, “the whole coal cargo are imported via Port of Tadjourah.”
The slowdown of cargo activity of containers has also registered a recorded low, rather than the history of conjunction in the previous trend. “For the first time the container consignment in Djibouti has registered below 10,000, which is new,” the CEO says, “for instance today (Thursday March 25) the number of full container cargo in Djibouti is lower than 8,000.”
There are different reasons for the drop but the two main reasons are the impact of international trade slow down, which is mainly affected by the global pandemic, and the second reason is the activity of lifting container.
The market share of ESLSE has taken 73 percent regarding containers consignment, which shows that the increment of the multimodal scheme.