All Aboard! Africa’s first electrified railway from Addis to Djibouti begins commercial operations

8 Jan 2018

The Ethio-Djibouti railway line has started commercial operations for passengers and freight.

The launching ceremony on 1st January 2018 was attended by high-level government officials, including the Chinese and Djiboutian Ambassadors.

The railway, which is Sub-Saharan Africa’s first electrified railway, connects Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa with the port of Djibouti. Travel time will be cut from around 3 days to 10 hours.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Berhanu Beshah, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Railways Corporation, said the railway, Ethiopia’s national flagship project, could be a model for modern transport industry.

Ahmed Shide, Ethiopia’s Minister of Transport, hailed the project as a milestone in China-Africa cooperation as well as in the history of Ethiopia’s and Africa’s transport sectors.

In addition to further enhancing economic ties as well as people-to-people links between Ethiopia and Djibouti, it will make a significant contribution

to the ongoing development efforts of building a new Ethiopia, said the minister.

Commending China as well as other stakeholders for their contribution towards the successful realisation of the rail project, the minister urged local people, especially residents living by the line of the rail to take care of it for its successful and sustainable operation.

Ambassador of China to Ethiopia, Tan Jian, noted that the project would contribute to the industrialisation and diversification of the Ethiopian economy, and also towards successful implementation of the country’s growth and transformation plan.

“It is the first trans-boundary and longest electrified railway on the African continent. We, the Chinese, see this as earlier harvest project of the Belt and Road initiative. It is regarded by many as a lifeline project for both countries, for Ethiopia and for Djibouti. And we see this as a railway of development; as a railway of cooperation; and as a railway of friendship,” he said.

The ambassador has reiterated China’s commitment to further cooperating and closely working with Ethiopia and Djibouti on the railway’s smooth operation.

The Djibouti Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mohamed Idriss Farah, said the railway project would make a significant contribution to the economic integration between Djibouti and Ethiopia.

“This is an important corridor, important railways between Djibouti and Ethiopia; we are working for our economic integration between our two countries. And this project was part of the economic integration, but not only economic integration but also connecting the peoples of Djibouti and Ethiopia,” said the ambassador.

…fares announced

According to Engineer Tilahun Farka, Director-General of Ethio-Djibouti Railway Transport Share Company, the tariff for passengers is 0.68 birr per kilometre. The tariff from Addis Ababa-Djibouti on a hard seat is 503 birr, while travellers on sleeper classes will pay 671 birr for the upper, 922 birr for the middle and 1,006 birr for the lower beds. For VIPs where each room accommodates two bunk beds, upper bunk beds cost 1,258 birr, while the lower ones cost 1,341 birr. (Note: Please check online for fares to other destinations)

Freight rates start from $0.051 per kilometre for a tonne of goods.

The Ethiopia-Djibouti project was constructed with a total investment of almost $4 billion and is the first modern electrified railway line in East Africa.

The project is jointly owned by the governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti and constructed by China Railway Group and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

Latest News

Browse all
Message from Ambassador Teferi on the occasion of New Year 2022 and Ethiopian Christmas (Genna). The year 2021 has shown us that although our challenges are great, each of one us, as Ethiopians, has the courage and determination to rise up and meet them, and that we should look forward to a future of peace, prosperity, unity, and opportunity.
6 Jan 2022
Message from the Ambassador
Following the successful launch of the e-visa process in 2018, the Immigration Nationality and Vital Events Agency has announced the commencement of the Digital INVEA application aimed at modernising, simplifying and integrating its service offering. We, therefore, recommend all prospective customers to visit www.digitalinvea.com.
26 Oct 2021
Notice: Important Changes to Consular Services
As a founding member of the United Nations, Ethiopia has through the years amply demonstrated its commitment to the UN Charter. UN agencies, in particular, those in the humanitarian area also had a long presence in Ethiopia providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance to millions. It goes without saying that Ethiopia appreciates all the support that these UN agencies have been extending…
1 Oct 2021
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release on the Expulsion of UN Officials
A collection of Ethiopian artefacts that were looted by British soldiers during the Battle of Maqdala in 1868 are set to be returned to Ethiopia following a poignant handover ceremony at the prestigious Athenaeum Club in London on 8th September 2021. The objects were procured by the Scheherazade Foundation through auctions and private dealers.
9 Sep 2021
Artefacts looted in Maqdala in 1868 to be returned to Ethiopia
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta at the Ethiopian Investment Forum, held on 2 September 2020.
2 Sep 2021
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta at the Ethiopian Investment Forum
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Northern Ethiopia (Afar, Amhara, and Tigray Regions) - 26 August 2021, Addis Ababa 
26 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 26 August 2021
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray and Northern Ethiopia - 20 August 2021
20 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 20 August 2021
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray 12 August 2021
12 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 12 August 2021
Reaffirming our commitment to the protection of refugees, we request the UN Human Rights Commission to correct the biased and partial opinions of its rapporteur. We also call the Commission and other international humanitarian organizations to help our efforts of rescuing the refugees from the imminent danger they are in and assist our efforts of investigating the issue.
7 Aug 2021
A Response to the Statement by the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Regarding the Situation of Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia
The Government will take all the necessary measures to ensure that these sacred places and other institutions are well protected and call on the international community to condemn this heinous act of the TPLF.
6 Aug 2021
Press Statement on Protection of Cultural Sites
The Government of Ethiopia has been committed to the Unilateral Humanitarian Ceasefire that it has declared on 28 June 2021 in a bid to give respite to the people of Tigray and make use of the farming season. Regrettably, the TPLF has failed to reciprocate.
6 Aug 2021
Statement on preoccupying issues in Ethiopia and the way forward
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray.
5 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 5 August 2021