Reefer containers arrive in Djibouti ready for business

The logistics power arm, Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics (ESL), embarks on key consultations with potential customers following the arrival of the first reefer containers. Potential buyers signal readiness to tap into the potential business which is convenient for fresh commodity export.
About a week ago, the refrigerated boxes that were manufactured in China and transported by the Jigjiga vessel finally made their way to ESL’s home port in Djibouti.
According to Demissew Benti, Corporate Communication Head at ESL, the state logistics enterprise has assigned a certified entity to inspect the containers at the Port before beginning of logistic activities to the center.
“Our inspection team has been assigned to conduct quality assurance on products for a defect check before they are loaded for shipment. The latest inspection is also common prior to transporting from Djibouti to Ethiopia,” Demissew said.
He added that since it is the first time for ESL to possess such kind of special containers, staffs are also going to be exposed in areas of handling capability and in terms of storage, use of electricity and general management.
“Trainings will be provided for ESL staffs that will facilitate the seamless workflow of the containers on the system,” the Corporate Communication Head told Capital.
He added that ESL will carry out discussions with fruit and vegetable associations, and stakeholders who are looking forward to start using the containers.
“We decided to buy these containers not because it is profitable but because we want to ease the logistics crunch observed in the area,” Demissew explained.
“Based on that we have also targeted other logistics companies to use them on a lease basis,” he said, adding, “To realize this, we are under discussion with logistics companies to use the containers.”
As per ESL projections, the containers will be in use in the coming couple of weeks.
According to the plan, at the current stage the major hub will be at Mojo Dry port but in the future ESL will have centers at potential production areas.
“It is a must and we will also have temporary reefer terminals in different locations,” Demissew pointed out.
So far ESL has established a cold chain at its Mojo Dry Port facility and the procurement of reefer containers has included all the required equipment to operate the cold containers.The generators are said to be the equipment that will be fixed on vessels to support the cooling process on the voyage of reefer containers to their destinations.
Roba Megersa, former CEO of ESL, who left the docket late last March, recently told Capital that ESL has already facilitated two hectares of a dedicated terminal at Mojo for reefer cargo handling and power plug-in service.
In total, the latest procurement consumed USD 976,500 or USD 32,550 per container that includes accessories.
Regarding the arrival of the first 30 forty feet MGSS reefer containers and mounted generators, the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) has expressed its much delightfulness.
Tewodros Zewdie, Executive Director of EHPEA, said that for the past several years his association has been advocating for the use of reefer containers to boost the horticulture sector particularly for the fruit export.
He said that the coming of the stated amount of containers that Ethiopia owned for the first time has created enthusiasm in the horticulture industry, “It is an inception that shows that the sector will expand regarding sea based logistics.”
“We believe that it is one step forward and symbolic for the expectation of the future,” Tewodros told Capital by adding that more similar containers are entailed to fetch the required benefit from the sector export.
“Through our platform we have become updated and the status and sector actors are interested to work with us. Foreign players are also showing their intentions to be involved in the sector,” the Executive Director said, adding, “Those who were reluctant to enter in the country’s investment opportunities because of the logistics challenge are also now showing their interest.”
The move that is taking by the logistics operator is also stated as a big hope since potential perishable commodity buyers are expressing their desire to order from here. These cargo boxes will now support the bulk mobility of the perishable industry, and experts in the sector speculate that the country’s fruit industry will boom at higher trajectories.
“In the past, potential customers had ordered hundreds of containers but there weren’t ample boxes in the containers. Now this is a major challenge that will enable us to tap the benefit that producers and sellers should have,” the association head recalled.
He said that now supermarket chains are also exploring.
“In the coming weeks we will discuss with logistics actors and will identify details like rates and other required information to embark the use of reefer containers,” he added.
He underlined that the sector needs more containers to see meaningful change on the business, “We expect thousands of containers to be included on the mobility.”
Experts show the case that in 2022 Kenya shipped 5,000 reefer containers when it comes to Ethiopia it is only about 15.
According to Demissew, ESL is also on the pipeline to include additional about 20 reefer containers in its route in the near future.

The post Reefer containers arrive in Djibouti ready for business appeared first on Capital Newspaper.

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