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 Djibouti, Doraleh Container Terminal. (Photo: Reuters)

On a sultry spring afternoon, the CEO of Djibouti’s major container port oversees a large Chinese vessel unloading containers for neighboring Ethiopia. “This arrived this morning and it’s all done. We’re leaving for Jeddah tonight,” said Abdillahi Adawe Sigad, head of SGTD (Société de Gestion du Terminal à conteneur de Doraleh).

 Djibouti, Doraleh Container Terminal. (Photo: Reuters)
Djibouti, Doraleh Container Terminal. (Photo: Reuters)

 Djibouti, Doraleh Container Terminal. (Photo: Reuters)

On a sultry spring afternoon, the CEO of Djibouti’s major container port oversees a large Chinese vessel unloading containers for neighboring Ethiopia. “This arrived this morning and it’s all done. We’re leaving for Jeddah tonight,” said Abdillahi Adawe Sigad, head of SGTD (Société de Gestion du Terminal à conteneur de Doraleh).

Such efficiency means that Djibouti’s goal of imitating Singapore as a major maritime trade center can be achieved.

“Our dream is to become a new Singapore,” says Shigado, who previously worked in another important maritime affair, Panama. Transshipment exchange..

According to the new Global Container Port Performance Index edited by World Bank and IHS Markit, This port is the most efficient in Africa, measured in fractions per container movement. “We need investment, cooperation and capacity building, but we are on a major transportation axis,” says Sigad.

Djibouti, a small country of barren mountains and deserts, is located in the Bab Hermandeb Strait at the northeastern tip of Africa. This is where 30% of the world’s shipping passes chokepoints on the way to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.

“There are five very important straits in the world: Babuel Mandeb, Suez Canal, Panama, Gibraltar and Malacca,” says Abu Baka Omar Hadi, chair of the Djibouti Port and Free Region Authority.

“People ask,’Why is this little country developing so many ports?’” Because of the demand, he adds. “We are attracting more and more transshipments.”

30% Percentage of ships in the world passing through Babel Mandeb on the way to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea

Sandwiched between the self-proclaimed independent states of Ethiopia and Eritrea, Somaliland Thanks to these ports, Djibouti has become a cornerstone of world trade. Economic growth is projected to be 7% this year, one of the fastest paces in Africa. For the past 15 years, the country has used its strengths and location to become a hub for international trade and logistics.

Karl Lorenz, managing director of East Africa at AP Moller Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping group, said that six ports in Djibouti, which handle about one million containers annually, are “Africa’s most productive terminals.” I think there is.

Analysts say Djibouti, which is considered a stable anomaly in the unstable Horn of Africa, recently established a sovereign wealth fund for domestic investment and has about $ 1.5 billion in business activity over the next decade. Aims to fund sovereign wealth funds.

Over the last decade, Djibouti has raised approximately $ 4 billion in investments in ports, oil and gas terminals, free trade areas and other countries, especially from China, the Gulf countries and the United States. 750km railroad track It can carry 2,600 tonnes of wheat and fertilizer, and 110 containers per trip to Ethiopia.

As a major transshipment site, Djibouti “serves services from most ports on the east coast of Africa to Durban, South Africa,” said Djibouti Michael Gebreab, Senior Director of Strategic Planning at the Djibouti Port and Free Region Authority. I will explain.

In addition, this strategic location makes Djibouti home to military bases, earning $ 125 million annually, including rents from the United States, China, France, Japan and Italy. A former colony of France that became independent in 1977, with a population of about 1 million, Djibouti is also an important lifeline of a landlocked country. Ethiopia and its rapidly growing population of 114 million..

Why is this small country developing so many ports? There is demand

“Without Djibouti, trade with Ethiopia would not be possible,” said Birhanu Redai, an Ethiopian truck driver who loads steel rolls at the port of Tadjoura, across the bay from Djibouti. His truck returns home through a newly paved road corridor.

But that wasn’t a perfectly smooth progress. 3 years ago, Djibouti Seized the Red Sea container port Dorare from DP WorldAfter a quarrel with a Dubai-based port operator. DP World Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Slyem said Djibouti had committed an illegal act and brought it to court.

However, Hadi argues that DP World’s goal was to conquer the coastline of Djibouti. And if anything, the people of Djibouti believe that the struggle with Dubai boosted their ambitions.

The historic port in the heart of Djibouti is developing into an international business district with hotels, marina and real estate projects, but the Djibouti International Free Trade District is already in operation.

 

 

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