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Sudan offers a 30 percent port utilization service with cheaper prices

Urges Ethiopia to allow Sudanese banks to operate here

A Sudanese business delegation, which has been in town for a weeklong diplomatic mission, has tabled a 30 percent port utilization services the government can provide to Ethiopia via the Port of Sudan.

Wejid Mirangani, president of Ethio-Sudanese Business Forum, told The Reporter that his government is ready to serve and handle Ethiopian commodities and the movement of goods as much as 30 percent at the Port of Sudan. He said some 100 vessels of Ethiopia’s ships could dock in the Port of Sudan simultaneously.

During the Ethio-Sudanese Business Forum, which was held on Thursday in Addis Ababa, Mirangani told a business gathering that Sudan is ready to handle Ethiopia’s bulk imports of steel, wheat, fertilizer, edible oil and the like. According to Mirangani, Sudan is in a better position to extend port services with relatively cheaper costs of shipping, transit and discharging fees. 

Mekonnen Abera, director general of Maritime Affairs Authority (EMAA), told The Reporter that the transportation cost is one probable area that both sides need to consider. In addition to that, it is critical for the Ethiopian side to evaluate the opportunity cost and the economic soundness of using the Port of Sudan, he said. Port Sudan remains relatively bigger in size and logistics when compared to the Port of Djibouti. Back in 2015, the Government of Ethiopia was able to import some 50,000 tons of fertilizer via the Port of Sudan. However, according to Mirangani, after one Ethiopian vessel has utilized the port, no further development has been seen from the Ethiopian side.

In a related news, Mirangani urged the Government of Ethiopia to consider Sudanese banks operate in Ethiopia. His request came after the giant state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) has been allowed to function in Sudan. Hence, Mirangani said that Ethiopia must do the same.  Moreover, he asked the Ethiopian government to start the implementation of the zero tariff agreement that was signed by the two governments.

Currently, there are some 500 Sudanese investors operating in Ethiopia across the various economic sectors. According to the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), Sudanese are listed second in the top ten countries that have already registered an investment projects in the country.  

Sudan wants to elevate the trade volume. Mirangani noted that both border trades and preferential trades under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) are found to be very weak. For instance back in 2014, Ethiopia has imported USD 184 million worth of goods and along the border trade USD 260,000 tradable items were exported to Sudan. In that regard, Mirangani requested Ethiopia to import cotton from Sudan, which Sudan could have easily supplied some 150,000mt every year. Currently, Ethiopia requires some 100,000mt of cotton for the growing textile and apparel industry.