Djibouti port congestion peaksShipments of aid cargo and fertilizer are adding to the congestion problems currently being experienced at the port of Djibouti, It says the situation is exacerbated by a vast amount of cement imports and tens of thousands of tones of wheat imported by the Ethiopian government to help stabilize local prices.
Approximately 18 ships were at anchor outside the port when this article was prepared – the largest single cargo so far having been 48,934 tones of wheat on the vessel MIGHTY MICHALIS, which was being discharged at a daily rate of less than 2,700t.
The report said that in the past week a total of 291,000 tones of cargo had been discharged at the port, with the largest volume being cement imported on seven vessels, while another three discharged 107,000t of wheat. A further three ships had a cargo of fertilizer totaling 73,000t.
The UN food aid organization World Food Programme (WFP) confirmed that all local warehouses throughout Djibouti were full.
“A large quantity of WFP’s food is at the port,” Paulette Jones, WFP spokeswoman in Addis Ababa, was quoted by IRIN. “These [food] commodities are needed urgently to assist beneficiaries who are still suffering from the impact of the drought, high food prices and [low] global food stocks.”
As a result of the increased volumes and demand, the transport cost per ton has risen to a record high of 70 Br, the Addis Fortune report said, adding that there are conflicting opinions on what actually caused the congestion, with some blaming it on an insufficient number of road trucks operating on the corridor.
Others however suggested the situation wasn’t as bad as a year ago and that the congestion would soon ease, but government departments admitted there was a problem and said efforts were being taken to alleviate the bureaucratic bottlenecks.
The heads of the Revenue and Customs Authority (RCA), the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), the Maritime and Transit Services (MTS) and the Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL) were expected to sign an agreement to enable imports to enter mainland Ethiopia even though import formalities have not been fully completed.
Cargo would be taken to a bonded inland dry port at Modjo, 73km east of Addis Ababa and would be the first time that Ethiopia had allowed imports to enter the country from Djibouti before customs duties had been paid.