Mulugeta Assefa

“I don’t want to hear the word multimodal anymore”

Mulugeta Assefa, Chairman of the Freight Forwarders and Transistors Association, said on December 13, 2012 at a business lunchon discussion organized by the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association at Hilton Addis.

Abebe Abebayehu, a Senior Private Sector Development Advisor with the Ethiopian Public Private Consultation Forum/Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce, made a brief presentation on the challenges and opportunities of multimodal transport (MMT) in Ethiopia. Abebe explained that MMT requires efficient transport system which is usually achieved by liberalizing the sector.

It was following the presentation that Mulugeta reflected that he no more wants to hear the word multimodal. He mentioned that the system has caused too much trouble to members of his association and the entire private sector. Mulugeta was not alone to speak such hurdles the private sector has encountered since the introduction of the MMT system. It seems consensus was reached by all speakers in the discussions that the need for liberalizing the transport system in the country was the only option to end the mess.

The multimodal system was introduced in January 2011 to ease the movement of goods and avoid the confiscation of goods at the Port of Djibouti for not being picked up on time. However, the system turns out to be a disaster as the shipment of goods from the port of Djibouti has been obstructed. This is because the Ethiopian Shipping and Logistic Service Enterprise, the only multimodal operator in the country, has failed to handle the country’s imports by itself. By the time Mulugeta made the above statement more than 8000 containers were reported to have piled at the port of Djibouti.

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