The Doraleh Multipurpose Port is now the most advanced port in Africa
Djibouti has formally opened today the country’s latest mega project and one of four new ports designed to cement the tiny Horn of Africa nation’s position as a continental hub – the Doraleh Multipurpose Port (DMP).
The 690 hectare port facility has been substantially upgraded as part of a Chinese-backed plan to establish Africa’s largest free-trade zone that can handle $7 billion of goods a year.
The USD $590m DMP project was started in 2015, and jointly financed by Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority (DPFZA) and China Merchant Holding (CMHC).
“The port of Djibouti is a gateway to one of the fastest growing regions of the world with 30,000 ships transiting the port each year,” the statement said.
“Located on two of the three busiest shipping routes in the world, the port provides a strategic platform for maritime activity connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe.”
The port provides a world-class logistics platform for shipping. The new facilities will vastly improve the efficiency and ease of doing business in the Horn of Africa. The project cements Djibouti’s position as a critical junction on the “Maritime Silk Road”.
“With this new world-class infrastructure, Djibouti confirms its position as a major trading hub for the continent. We are proud to show the world our capacity to deliver major infrastructure projects – some of the most technologically advanced on this continent,” said Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman of DPFZA during the opening ceremony.
Tiny Djibouti, with a population of 876,000, has long punched above its weight. It hosts large U.S. and French naval bases; China is also building a naval base. Djibouti also handles roughly 95 percent of the inbound trade for neighbouring Ethiopia, population 99 million.
Doraleh’s bulk terminal can handle 2 million tons of cargo a year, and offers space to store 100,000 tons of fertilizer, 100,000 tons of grain, and warehouses for other goods.
The break bulk terminal can handle 6 million tons of cargo annually, the statement said, and there are 40,000 slots for vehicles at the RO-RO terminal.
Other projects funded by China includes four new ports (for salt and potash exports), a Liquefied Natural Gas facility, an oil terminal, and two brand new airports.
The projects follow the completion of the Chinese funded Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, a new 752km track linking Ethiopia’s capital with the Port of Djibouti.
Ethiopia is Djibouti’s only port service customer.
Djibouti mainly handles goods from Asia, representing nearly 60 percent of traffic, the statement said. In 2015, overall traffic to Djibouti increased 20 percent to 5.7 million tonnes.