Turkish, Chinese sign up for Mekele – Awash new Rail route | Ethiopia

A Turkish and a Chinese companies signed up to build a new railway route connecting central Ethiopia with the northern city Mekele. (See map below)

The Chinese company is responsible for the construction of about 260 km long rail line connecting Hara Gebeya town – via the nearby bigger city of Woldia, to Mekele city. This route will extend further north to Shire town in the next phase of the New National Railway Network plan.

The Turkish company, on the other hand, will build about 389 km long rail line stretching from Hara Gebeya to Awash city, in the center-eastern of the country.Awash is a stopping point of both the century old and the new under-construction rail routes that connect the capital city, Addis Ababa with the port of Djibouti.

It should be noted that another rail route, currently on design stage, will connect Woldia city to a new port in the northern Djibouti.

The signing of the agreement with the Chinese company was reported on June 25 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, as follows:

The Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) and China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) signed an agreement on Friday [June 22] to build a new railway line from Mekelle Woldya to Hara Gebeya. The projected cost is US$1.5 billion.

The Head of ERC, Getachew Betru, noted that the project would link Ethiopia’s northern regions with the new port being constructed at Tadjurah in Djibouti and would pass through the potash mining areas. It is part of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) and is expected to be completed within the GTP timeframe. The GTP ends in 2015. The railway is also expected to attract a substantial amount of passenger traffic as well as freight on the Mekelle-Hara Gebeya segment, which is 260kms in length.

Ato Getachew noted that the CCCC has been selected because of record of delivery and quality. The company has completed more than 20 projects in Ethiopia since 1998, and its Vice-President, Mr. Zhou Yongheng, pointed out that although the terrain of the project is complicated and there would be considerable construction difficulties in some areas, the CCCC Group would be mobilizing substantial resources to guarantee completion of the project.

The signing of the project was witnessed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ato Hailemariam who is also the Board Chairman of ERC, as well as Ato Diriba Kuma, the Minister of Transport, and the Mayor of Mekelle city.

The website also reported the deal between the Turkish company and the Ethiopian Railways Corporation on June 28, as follows:

The Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) and Turkish company Yapi Merkezi have signed a contract to provide for the construction of the Awash-Woldiya to Hara Gebeya Railway Project on Wednesday [June 27]. The contract document includes engineering, procurement and construction works of the project, which is expected to be completed within 42 months. The total length of the main line which will be electrified is approximately 389 kms.

The agreement covers sidelines for depot and storage areas, signalling and telecommunication works for all lines and stations and the construction of an Operation Control Centre. There will be three terminal stations, each with two platforms, and six one platform intermediate stations as well as two main maintenance facilities. The total cost of the project is about US$1.7 billion.

The agreement was signed by the ERC General Manager, Dr. Engineer Getachew Betru, and Erdem Ariouglu, Board Member of Yapi Merkezi and its General Manager, Sami Ozge Ariogle, and witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hailemariam and the Ambassadors of both countries as well as senior government officials.

The Mekele – Awash rail route is one of the eight mail routes in the New National Railway Network. Ethiopia has unveiled last year a two-phased plan to construct a 4,850 long railway, with 8 main rail routes and expected to connect about 49 towns, under the purview of the newly established Ethiopian Railway Corporation. (See the map and list of the routes, in this blog, – HERE and HERE).

This is in addition to the existing 781 Km railroad that links Addis Ababa, via Dire Dawa, to the port of Djibouti, which was built by French in the early 1900s and owned by Ethio-Djibouti Railway Company.


Second Chinese company signs up for Ethio-Djibouti rail route (Dec. 2011)
Updated: China to build Ethio-Djibouti rail route – And India? (Oct. 2011)
USD 300 mln for one route of Ethiopia’s new railway (May 2011)
New Railway detail design works underway | Ethiopia (Apr. 2011)
[Update] Ethiopia’s new Railway – Phase I & II maps (Dec. 2010)
Leaked info: Railway to link 49 Ethiopian towns (Nov. 2010)


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