In general, the transportation sector is a solid factor in terms of economic, social, political and balanced developments of a given region at large. In addition, it will be a good means of having a great influence on national integration to the global economic market.
Historically, Ethiopia has had a rich background of trade across the seas. As a result, ports constituted an important economic activity to the region in general and to Ethiopia in particular.
Ethiopia’s position as a landlocked country started in recent decades and this situation diversifying the challenges of the country that stretches through economic, social, political as well as regional implications.
Naturally, the higher the throughput of goods year-on-year, the more infrastructure, provisions and related services are required. These will bring varying degrees of benefits to the economy and to the country. Ports are also vital for the support of economic activities in the neighborhood since they act as a crucial correlation between sea and land transport.
In terms of the load carried, the sea channel transportation is the cheapest and most effective transportation system compared to other systems since industries require a safe and cheap means of exporting finished goods and importing raw materials. Henceforth, the mainstream industries in the world are located in and around the coastal belts throughout the world, in the surrounding areas of major ports. These industries in turn, positively influence the lives of the employees and indirect benefactors since as it requires huge manpower deployment; ports do not only serve an economic but also a social function.
As a landlocked country, Ethiopia is struggling to create its level best services in order to mitigate the port problem. In an effort to survive the challenge, the country also collects its institutional effort and created a huge operational institution that got happen through a legal merger process.
The Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Service Enterprise (ESLSE) is a merger of four enterprises which were working independently in the sea transport sector. These were Ethiopian Shipping Lines Share Company, Ethiopian Maritime and Transit Service Enterprise, Dry Port Enterprise and the former Comet Transport Share Company which was consolidated in to the new company, August, 2016.
The ESLSE, as the leading operator of the sector in Ethiopia in particular and in Africa in general is struggling to cope up with the problems. These problems happen as a result of the landlocked geographical position of the country, the natural challenges of the sector and the geo-political situation of the region.
The logistics sector in Ethiopia has now facing a hard operational problems due to several reasons. In the Ethiopian situations, the above stated macro-level challenges have also several micro-level elements that incorporate, but not limited to, the followings;
• The hard desert climate ;
• Lack of sufficient skilled manpower;
• The poor road transport infrastructure;
• The intermittent train supply;
• Lack of appropriate knowledge from the traders side; and
• Lack of sufficient trucks for the logistics.
The top governance bodies and employees of ESLSE developed multifaceted strategic directions in order to handle the above stated challenges. Accordingly;
• The dedicated manpower that the company incorporates,
• The professional relation with the port management,
• The internal management systems that it introduced recently; and
• The synchronized leadership style that it follows recently able the corporation to survive the problem and providing landmark services to the landlocked country – Ethiopia!