1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa
  4. Ethiopia

Ethiopia seeks improved port access in Djibouti, Kenya and

Country Map - DRC (Uvira)
Uvira, taken by RCD-Goma on 19 October, was reported to be "tense" on Wednesday (IRIN)

As the dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea reaches the six-month mark, with no sign of a peaceful resolution to the standoff, Ethiopia is firming up its relationships with ports in other neighbouring countries to ensure imports and exports continue to move smoothly.

A well-placed source in the transport industry told IRIN on Friday that the EU would be shipping, for the first time, a 15,000 mt consignment of food aid destined for eastern Ethiopia through the port of Berbera in the self-declared state of Somaliland. The Kenyan port of Mombasa will also be handling cargo for Ethiopia, the Kenya Ports Authority said yesterday, according to the ‘Daily Nation’. The transport source told IRIN that if the Berbera shipment goes well, “it will be all systems go for Somaliland.” The port of Berbera handled incoming traffic of 65,000 mt of cargo last year, according to an UNCTAD official quoted by the ‘East African’ on Monday, but could handle up to 1,000 mt per day, according to a report from the UN in Ethiopia earlier this year.

An aid official recently in the Somaliland “capital”, Hargeisa, told IRIN in Nairobi that the economy of northwestern Somalia was still suffering the effects of a ban on imports of its livestock imposed by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and could benefit greatly from the Ethiopian cargo. The livestock ban followed fears of an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever spreading up from Kenya and southern Somalia earlier this year.

Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi visited Ethiopia’s most important port in neighbouring Djibouti last weekend, and, reporting on the visit, the official Ethiopian News Agency said the two countries will work out mechanisms to “further streamline” the services offered at the port. The rail and road links from Djibouti to Ethiopia have become strategically critical, as the Eritrean ports of Assab and Massawa are unavailable to landlocked Ethiopia. An attack by unknown armed men about three weeks ago on the northern road from Djibouti to Ethiopia resulted in five trucks and their contents being burnt, the transport source said.

The EU is being approached to fund a proposed modernisation of the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, the independent ‘Addis Tribune’ reported last week. Shortages of fuel tankers have impaired fuel distribution to outlying areas of Ethiopia, the transport source said. “A lot of the fuel tankers were owned or operated by Eritreans”, the source said, and many Eritreans have migrated from Ethiopia or been expelled since the conflict broke out this June.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

It was The New Humanitarian’s investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation that uncovered sexual abuse by aid workers during the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo and led the World Health Organization to launch an independent review and reform its practices.

This demonstrates the important impact that our journalism can have. 

But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking. 

We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone.

The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and shine a light on similar abuses. 

Become a member today and support independent journalism

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.

Join