RLL Container Report - 03 May 2017
From: John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd. Email: email@example.com Date: 03 May 2017
All systems go in East Africa.
News that Iran will invest heavily in improving facilities at its main container port at Bandar Abbas will be welcomed in East Africa, where Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania are upgrading their own port and rail infrastructure to cope with higher volumes of containerised and bulk exports, not only to Iran but also to Russia, the CIS as well as to India. On the 12th of April, the President of Tanzania, John Magafuli announced that the construction of the third standard gauge rail line in the region, linking the port city of Dar es Salaam to Morogoro, will commence on the 5th of May. The 1 435 mm gauge single-track, electrified line is expected to open in October 2019.
The new line will be designed for 160 km/h passenger and 120 km/h freight services, with six stations including an inland freight terminal at Ruvu. Freight traffic is estimated at 17 million tonnes per year. Tanzania’s population of 51 million is spread evenly all over the country, which covers an area of almost one million square kilometres. Tanzania’s principal export commodities include minerals (gold, gemstones, diamonds and coal) as well as containerisable products such as coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, tea, sisal and tobacco. These are then distributed to Iran and to Russia via the direct route to Bandar Abbas, Teheran and then on to the broad gauge network at Aster, Azerbaijan.
Kenya, Tanzania’s neighbour to the north, recently inaugurated its own Standard Gauge Line from the port of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi. The 500 km long line will greatly speed up the distribution of containerised cargoes to and from the port on the India Ocean to the capital and its population of over three million. The majority of Kenyans live either in the area around the capital or around the Great Lakes further into the interior of East Africa. Its prime exports of tea and coffee are targeted at both Iran and Russia. The latter is by far the world’s biggest importer of tea, while Iran comes in at number 4, with over a Billion Dollars’ worth of annual imports.
To the north of Kenya lies Ethiopia, which at 1.1 million square kilometres is almost double the size of Kenya. Ethiopia is land-locked, which means that feeding its population of over 95 million is a major logistical task in itself. The country also has a wide variety of exports, including coffee, livestock products (leather, live animals and meat), oil seeds and pulses, fruits, vegetables and flowers, textiles, natural gum, spices and mineral products. Almost all these products transit via the port of Djibouti, in the Gulf of Aden, on the western shore of the Red Sea (with the Suez Canal to the north). Ethiopia is one of the few African countries which does not have oil or mineral resources. Instead, Ethiopia’s trade is highly dependent on the export of agricultural products with coffee leading the field. On the 10th of January of this year, a ceremony was held at Nagad station in Djibouti to mark the official opening of the new 752km electrified standard-gauge railway linking the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa high up in the Ethiopian highlands with its main outlet to the rest of the world down by the Red Sea.
John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd.
03 May 2017
Copyright ©, 2017, John Keir