Modjo dry port: Nation’s major import-export destination key to save foreign currency

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Now it has reached the capacity of accommodating more than 14,000 containers at a time, with 1000 containers in and out per day. The port has a share of about 76 percent import-export destination of Ethiopia. That is the Modjo dry port, which was established in 2001 with the capacity of accommodating only 700 containers at once. As a land locked country, Ethiopia is using mainly Djibouti’s and other neighboring countries’ ports. In addition to the challenges with trade balance and the dearth of foreign currency, the payment for ports with additional cost of containers was a heavy burden for this developing country until recent time.

The problem was not only the headache 0f the country the businesscommunities and investment hubs share the challenge. Aiming at combating these and other related problems, the Enterprise of Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Service (ESL) recently expressed that it has been on the application process of multi-modal system since 2011 and becoming successful. Among the other ports, Modjo dry port is now the leading in the dry port sector with successful operation of multimodal system, the enterprise acknowledged.

The enterprise’s CEO Roba Megersa told The Ethiopian Herald, “Multimodal system is directly related with dry ports, since we have launched this system, there are several dry ports constructed for this purpose and the Modjo dry port is the one which covers about 76 percent of our import export merchandise.” With the operation of multi modal system, he said that Ethiopia now able to save more than 50 million USD per year, which was to be paid for containers delay on Djibouti port, as a result of dimer age.

“The dimer age starts from 8th day of the containers’ arrival, and we used to pay millions of Dollars for highly accumulated containers at Djibouti port, in average for about 60 days, but know with establishment of dry ports like Modjo and multi modal service, we could able to reduce this age to less than 7 days, which is cost free,” he stressed. In this view, Modjo becomes the major destination of import and export hubs of Ethiopia, particularly for the customers of multimodal service, which is providing one document service for customer’s goods, from Djibouti port to Modjo.

ESL Port and Terminal sector Operation director, Mihreteab Teklu, said that the major purpose of multimodal system is to provide door to door service and Modjomeans almost Addis Ababa because of its closeness, which make easy for customers to mobilize their imported or export commodities. As of Roba, currently, while the annual throughput of Modjo dry port reaches 600,000 containers with the total area coverage of 180 hectares, but there is still ongoing expansion which will take the service of the port to the advanced and standardized level by 2021.

Labeling the country’s total throughput as six million containers per year, after the expansion the Modjo’s share will be three million standard containers, he stated. As part of these expansion effort, ESL recently introduced Reach Stacker machineries, which are considered to increase the efficiency of the port by 900 percent than before. According to Roba, the newly imported Reach Stacker machineries basically servefor loading and unloading process of containers.

“Formerly the port is striving with 4 – 6 machineries, now we have bought additional 13 reach stacker modern machineries, which 10 of them are allocated for Modjo. And these Swedish made modern machines will enable the port to handle about 250 containers per hour,” Roba stressed. The newly imported machineries expected to increase customer satisfaction, with more efficiency.

Among the customers of the port, The Ethiopian Herald has approached Euel Gelaneh, a driver and user of the port, witnessed that there are improvements especially on the rapidity of unloading service though some aspects need to be improved. “We used to passing several nights up to ten days waiting to unload containers, most of the time only two Reach Stackers have been operational, but the number of customer is high. Now there is an improvement, even I have got finished within an hour,” he stated.

He also added, “There is a need to make an improvement especially on the behavior of some workers, actually it might be because of the work burden, but they should treat people fairly and ethically.” Roba, for his part said that; “We have much to do on our dry ports of course to attain standardized level, with regard to having skilled human power, ICT solutions, packaging and value added services, maintenance of containers and machines and in many other aspects.

We know that there are a lot of home works aside, but we are hopeful that many of our expansion and improvement projects will be concluded in the coming two and three years.” Modjo dry port is the leading dry port in Ethiopia and expected to be continuing with its lion’s share of facilitating Ethiopia’s import – export hub, as several industrial parks and rail way of Addis- Djibouti is there in advancing.

Herald  FEBRUARY 5/2019

BY YOSEF KETEMA