The Chinese-built-Djibouti-Ethiopia Standard Gauge Railway marked its fifth anniversary since completion, marking a new era of connectivity and economic prosperity. This electrified standard gauge railway spans an extensive distance of 756 kilometers, serving as a crucial link between Ethiopia and Djibouti. Within Ethiopia, the railway covers approximately 656 kilometers, while in Djibouti, it stretches across 100 kilometers, revolutionizing transportation and unlocking a multitude of benefits for both countries.

Starting its journey from Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, the railway weaves its way through strategic locations, encompassing key cities and towns such as Adama (Nazret), Awash, and Dire Dawa. Crossing borders seamlessly, the railway then traverses Djibouti, passing through Dewele, Ali Sabieh, Holhol, Nagad, before reaching its final destination in Djibouti City.

The electrified Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway has brought about significant improvements in trade and commerce, chiefly by reducing transportation time for goods. Previously, a three-day road journey has now been condensed to a mere twelve hours, expediting the movement of goods and enhancing economic efficiency. This streamlined logistics network has not only saved valuable time but has also resulted in substantial cost reductions, fostering economic growth and bolstering competitiveness for businesses in both countries.

Furthermore, the railway project has played a pivotal role in job creation, offering employment opportunities to hundreds of Djiboutians. From skilled engine drivers to dedicated station staff, local individuals have found meaningful employment, contributing to the development of Djibouti’s workforce and overall economy. This emphasis on local empowerment and job creation underscores the project’s commitment to inclusive growth and prosperity.

Mohamed Kheyre Roble, the railway project manager, expressed his elation and unwavering confidence in the capabilities of the young men who now serve as engine drivers. He urged the Djiboutian drivers to embrace their newfound responsibilities.
“We are delighted to witness this momentous occasion where our young men now serve as the engine drivers of the railway. You carry a great responsibility on your shoulders, and I trust that you will fulfill your duties with utmost dedication and professionalism,” stated the project manager.

Imran Farah Jamaa, one of the engine drivers, emphasized the increased autonomy gained through their roles.
“Today, after five years since the Djibouti Railway started operating, we have officially assumed full control of the railway management, including driving the train and overseeing other services. Our crew will operate the train up to the city of Dire Dawa, where Ethiopian crew members will seamlessly take over and continue the journey up to Addis Ababa,” he said.

After five years from 2017, the railway has facilitated increased trade, reduced transportation costs, and created job opportunities, shaping a brighter future for both Ethiopia and Djibouti.

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