ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- With the help of Chinese construction company's "commendable work efficiency," the Ethiopian government aspires to improve the country's fuel distribution with the timely completion of a Chinese-contracted railway project, an official has said.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Tadesse Hailemariam, chief executive officer of the Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise, said the East African country envisaged transport petroleum from the Djibouti port to central Ethiopia with the help of a recently-launched Chinese-contracted railway project.
Ethiopia, a landlocked country highly dependent on imported-petroleum products, on Sunday laid the cornerstone of a railway project connecting the central Ethiopian market town of Awash and the port nation of Djibouti, which is contracted by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
"Fuel plays a big role in our economy. As a whole, fuel is the leading one in the energy sector," Hailemariam told Xinhua, emphasizing the "huge impact and role" fuel plays in the East African country's agriculture, construction, transportation as well as various other sectors.
"We had a very old railway from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, which is now abandoned. But what makes this (the new railway) special is that it's an electrified train and its efficiency is much better than the old one," Hailemariam said.
"The efficiency of the transportation system simply means the fuel could arrive from Awash to Djibouti within eight hours," while it takes two to three days with road trucks, he said.
The Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise chief also spoke highly of the Chinese contractor to complete the project in time.
"Chinese contractors are very efficient. I hope from my experience working with them and from the historical background of the Chinese contractors, they may complete ahead of time. They are now planning to complete it within nine to 12 months, but hopefully they can complete it shorter than expected," Hailemariam affirmed.
The rail line, scheduled to be completed within one year, could carry two oil tanker trains per day and achieve an annual delivery capacity of 1.3 million tons in the near future. In the long run, its transport capacity would rise to six trains per day, it was noted.
Chinese companies have become major partners of Ethiopia in railway construction.
The Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, as the first electrified transnational railway in East Africa, is contracted by two Chinese companies, China Railway Group and CCECC. It provides various freight services to locals, including transportation of perishable goods, vehicles, cereals and fertilizers. Enditem