By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
December 30, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) –Land locked Ethiopia is to start using Sudan’s main seaport on the Red Sea for importing goods, the Ethiopian ministry of transport disclosed Tuesday.
Ethiopia has been using Port Sudan only to export its products to the international market, and this will be its first to use the Port of Sudan’s to ship in goods.
State minister Getachew Mengestie told Ethiopian news agency that the move was taken to cope up expanding demand from the country’s growing economy.
Mengestie said Ethiopian government has signed a deal with its Sudanese counterpart to import 50, 000 tonnes of fertilisers via Port Sudan.
“To solve the problem of storage space, a new 5 000 meter square storage facility has been opened a week ago around Mojjo,” he added.
The horn of Africa’s nation currently uses port of Djibouti to execute over 90 % its total import export trade, making Djibouti Ethiopia’s prime economic partner.
In the past Ethiopia had been using Eritrea’s port of Assab; the closest port to the country however was closed after the two neighbours fought a two year long war in 1998 that has killed an estimated 70,000 people.
Ethiopia is currently looking for alternative sea ports in neighbouring countries of Sudan, Kenya and Somalia to ease increasing dependency in Djibouti.
The Ethiopian government is currently working with counterparts in the autonomous Somaliland region in Somalia to use Berbera port.
Ethiopia which is one of the 16 landlocked countries in Africa pays hundreds of millions of dollars annually for port services.