Since its creation, the port of Djibouti is one of the important andlargest port in the region, Gateway to the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and theIndian Ocean. It is the main gateway for Ethiopia, East Africa’s largest economy, to the Indian OceanDjibouti port was competing with the Somali port of Berbera and Port Sudanon Red Sea for Ethiopia’s foreign trade but after the Addis Ababa railway enteredis operational, the Djibouti Port won the competition and 85% of goods bound to and from Ethiopia is handledby the port of Djibouti. Thus, the port of Djibouti is tightly influenced byEthiopian Economy; over the past 10 years, Ethiopia’s economic growth rate hasbeen averaging more than 10% which has increased throughput at Djibouti from1.5 million tonnes in 2010 to 5 million in 2014. As a consequence, the Djiboutigovernment make future plan for its economy on its relationship with Ethiopiaand with South Sudan as a potentially important partner in the future. To meet increasingdemand due to fast growing economies of the region, the Djibouti governmentlaunched the Djibouti 2035 national plan which aim for the development of aspecial logistics zone and transport infrastructures.
On its own, the main port has a capacity ofonly 350,000 teu, and cannot handle ships of more than 8,000 teu capacity farbelow supersized shipping industry thus the major investment of recent years wasconstruction of the Doraleh container terminal. Opened in February 2009, it is operateda joint venture between Dubai World and China Merchant Holding International(CMHI), it is considered to be “the most technologically advanced in theAfrican continent” due to its wide and sophisticated facilities ( cranage, eightquay cranes capable of dealing with Super Post Panamax class vessels: these canshift 50 tonnes in a single lift, 80 tonnes under hook and have an outreach of65m) and computerised system to automatelogistics, tracking and payment.In 2016, the port and rail system attracted$2bn in foreign investement, mostly from China and Turkey, making Djibouti thecountry with the most effective rail-and-port system in all Africa’s Eastregion, from Suez to Durban.A $590m are being invested by DP World andCMHI in order to expand its capacity and convert it into the DoralehMulti-Purpose Port by adding 23ha (15 berths) to the container terminal andother facilities for handling general and breakbulk cargo, as well as coal andcars.Upon completion of these infrastructure projects,the total container handling capacity of Djibouti will be of 2 million teu.Though there is much to do to meet Singapore’s32 million teu capacity, the challenge of this development is to make Djiboutithe Singapore of Africa.