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Chinese-built Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway marks six years of operation

Opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong, 18 May, 2016   -  
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Kin Cheung/Copyright 2016 The AP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu


The Chinese-built Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway on Friday celebrated its achievements in six years of commercial operation, with China officially ending its operational and maintenance services for the line.

At a ceremony in Addis Ababa, the Chinese team announced the conclusion of its participation in the railway's operation and maintenance.

The 752.7 kilometre standard gauge railway line connects landlocked Ethiopia with Red Sea ports in neighbouring Djibouti.

"In the past ten years, the Belt and Road Initiative has been one of the main forces promoting the vigorous development of Ethiopia's infrastructure construction and manufacturing industry,” said Ethiopia’s Speaker of Parliament, Tagesse Chafo.

“It has also created a large number of job opportunities for Ethiopian youth. In this regard, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, built by China, has become a landmark large-scale project of the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.

The Ethio-Djibouti Standard Gauge Railway Share Company will now take over the full operation of the line.

The line cuts transportation time for freight goods from more than three days to less than 20 hours, reduces costs by at least one-third, and helps Ethiopia access maritime trade ports.

Since it commenced commercial operation for both passenger and freight services in January 2018, it has seen the passing of some 2,500 passenger trains and 7,700 freight trains, transporting 9.5 million tonnes of goods.

"Since the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway commenced operation, transportation volume at Djibouti's ports have increased about 20 per cent," said Hassan Houmed, the Djiboutian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport in an interview with the China Central Television.

The railway line is the first electrified transnational railway in East Africa.

Ethiopian and Djiboutian government officials have hailed its role in promoting regional economic prosperity.

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