Ethiopian Dry Ports

In 2007 the Dry Port Service Enterprise (DPSE) in Ethiopia started building a dry port at Modjo, 76 km east of Addis Ababa in the Oromia Regional State. The opening of this dry port alone cut the time it took to move cargo from Djibouti to Ethiopia from 30 days down to 10 days.

In March 2010 the DPSE opened a second dry port at Semera, also in the Oromia Regional State, 558 km east of Addis Ababa. Semera was designed to tend to the needs of vehicle importations.

It is estimated that once fully functional these two dry ports will be able to store 70% of Ethiopia’s imports. Studies have also been completed for additional dry ports in Moyale, Woyito, Hawassa, Dire Daw, Jimma and Mekele.

One of the problems recently experienced shipping goods to Ethiopia through these dry ports is that the Ethiopian Shipping Line sometimes requests that the goods be off-loaded from the containers at the dry port. This can cause a problem if the exporter to Ethiopia believes that the goods will be shipped in the container direct to the customer’s premises and has not packed the goods with any additional protection.

Although the Martime and Transit Service (MTSE, which is a big government organization that specialises in moving equipment from the port to Addis Ababa it would be prudent to check before arranging any shipment whether the goods will be offloaded at the port or at the customer’s premises and to pack accordingly. Especially since Modjo Dry Port is 76 km from Addis Ababa and Semera is 558 km away and the road surfaces in between may be problematic especially during the rainy season.

Maria Narancic from Point to Point Export Services is an independent international trade adviser who assists organisations world wide with their international trade projects, documentation, Documentary Credits and import/export training.  She is based in the United Kingdom.  If you require any further assistance with the matters mentioned above, please do contact us by e-mail on or check out other articles on International Trade on the Point to Point Export Services website at

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