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WFP signs agreement to manage port operations, land corridor

WFP signs agreement to manage port operations, land corridor

In an effort to ease congestion of cargos that often curtail the normal movement of goods from the Port of Djibouti; the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has signed a memorandum of agreement with Ethiopia to manage the land corridor and port operations.

Steven Were Omamo, WFP Country Director and mekonenn Abera, director general of the Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority (EMAA) inked the agreement last week to allow WFP to build-up the governance and overall monitoring capabilities of EMAA for bulk imports into Ethiopia by means of improved planning and communication systems. With that agreement, WFP already has developed a new website to provide stakeholders status updates of cargo traffic.

According to the information WFP provided to The Reporter, last year, a total of 86 bulk cargo vessels came through Djibouti carrying some 3.2 million metric tons of cargo mostly wheat and fertilizer as major goods while barley and sorghum were part of the bulk traffic.

Highlighting the strategic partnership with WFP, Mekonnen said that the logistics system in Ethiopia is at a slow pace falling behind the development activities of the country. Hence, to address such challenges, EMAA sought partnerships with WFP to leverage on logistical infrastructures and to address the glitches sustained in the sector.

Apart from the road corridor activities, WFP has been engaged in various activities such as capacitating freights and fleet management, the Federal Transport Authority (FTA) is tasked with.

Paul Anthem, head of communications, donor relations and reports with
WFP Ethiopia via emailed enquiries told The Reporter that
there has been a MoU signed between the two agencies to help strengthen the monitoring capacities of FTA over the commercial freight transportation sector. This process along with the improvement of transport association was met with hardliners of the sector. Almost all of the commercial freight transporters has been managed through transport associations and based on the recommendations of WFP, authorities with FTA have obliged transporters to dissolve associations and form share companies or private limited entities. This move by FTA was met with strong resistance and at times, transporters associations took the case to court and some issues remain pending.

According to Anthem, WFP has employed the Ethio-Djibouti Railway as one of the essential components in developing the Addis-Djibouti corridor where two trains that carry a total of 21 containers from Djibouti move cargos to Modjo Dry Port.

In an effort to diversify options and mitigate risks, since 2016, WFP has been diverting some of the shipments from Port of Djibouti to Berbera Port in an effort to ease the congestions in Djibouti. There is an interest to include Assab and Massawa as part of the transport corridors in the Horn of Africa. “WFP is also interested in and very hopeful about the future development of the corridors from Eritrea in the context of its support to EMAA and to the Ministry of Transport,” Anthem said.