(Xinhua) — Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges said on Wednesday that he discussed with two Chinese diplomats ways of further strengthening bilateral cooperation with an emphasis on railway projects.
The cooperation on railway projects was one of the areas that require strengthened bilateral cooperation among the two countries, said Moges after a meeting with Zhao Zhiyuan, the newly appointed Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, and Liu Yu, Minister-Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs of China to Ethiopia.
Ethiopia and China have in recent years developed strong cooperation in the development of the railway sector in the East African country, which includes the successful completion of two major railway projects including the Ethiopia-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway and the Addis Ababa Light Railway project.
In September this year, the Ethiopia-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway management disclosed over 51 percent increase in revenue during the first half of 2020 despite the difficulties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the railway’s managing entity said on Friday.
The 756-km railway, which officially commenced its commercial operations for both passenger and freight services between landlocked Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa with ports in Djibouti in January 2018, has been instrumental in leveraging transportation needs of Ethiopia from its neighboring Red Sea nation of Djibouti.
Contracted by two Chinese companies, the railway, which is considered to be Africa’s first fully electrified trans-boundary railway, has made “consistent progress” since its operation commencement in January 2018, according to figures from the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway Company.
The railway’s revenue had increased 45 percent in 2019 as compared with its maiden year in 2018, while its income also climbed by 51.38 percent in the first-half of 2020 as compared with the same period of 2019 despite the difficulties brought by COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid its ever expanding services, the railway in August also commenced the refrigerated train service, by which the Ethiopian fruits and vegetables will be sold to Europe and other parts of the world.
The railway is currently managed by a consortium of Chinese companies for a period of six years.
According to the Chinese managing joint venture office, the supplementary facilities installed by the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway are being improved and fostering a better future.
The Ethiopia-Djibouti railway presently provides different kinds of freight services including the transportation of perishable goods, vehicles, cereals and fertilizers at Indode, Mojo, Adama, and Nagad stations.