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Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise

A. Major Services Provided by Shipping Sector

Sea Transport Services: The main focus of the Shipping Sector of ESL is to provide Coastal and International Marine Transport services to and fro Djibouti Port, through the Ports of: Gulf and Indian sub-Continent, China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, and Indonesia. The Shipping Sector provides uninterrupted sea transport service in and around the above ports with own ships as well as via slot chartering of major global carriers.

Agency Services: ESL’s Shipping Sector branch office, at city and port of Djibouti makes prompt notification to port authorities, whenever its own ships as well as other principal ships call to port and process all due formalities. It makes all the necessary provisions available for the ships and their crew. It prepares timely notifications for importers, and facilitates seamless flow and recollection of containers at Djibouti port. It also provides booking and canvassing services for huge amount of Ethiopian export goods destined to various parts of the world.

Stevedoring: ESL is one of the major stevedores in the port of Djibouti that provide efficient loading and discharging service of import and export cargoes, by making use of modern port equipment. In this case, ESL discharges various types of import cargoes from ships. It also renders stuffing service, thus facilitating the loading of cargoes for shipment. It also avails needed containers timely and expedites the recollection of empty containers to carriers.

Shore handling: This service includes safe storage of discharged cargoes from vessels in Djibouti Port until they have been transported to their destination in the country. ESL’s Djibouti Branch offers coordinated and efficient shore handling services with its CLT (Container Lifting Trucks), trucks, truck trailers, tractors and forklifts of various capacity.
Cargoes under ESL’s custody are handled with care and with maximum discharging and dispatching rates. In case of bulk cargoes and other containerized goods, a quick direct delivery service is provided with minimum transit time. In this manner a number of gangs are operated in all the three shifts throughout the day.

B. Services Provided by Freight Forwarding Sector

The Freight Forwarding Sector of the Enterprise is mainly concerned with multimodal and uni-modal service provisions of import and export cargoes.

Multimodal transport service: Essentially, this is a door-to-door cargo service with SAD (single administrative document) from the point of origin to the point of destination. In ESL’s case, the cargoes are shipped all the way from the port of their origin via Djibouti port and finally to Modjo Dry Port as well as other inland ports. Therefore, ESL as official Multimodal Operator /MTO/, takes all possible care to the cargo under its custody, as of the time the shipment is confirmed and ordered.

Unimodal transport service by contrast involves one mode of transportation, i.e, sea, rail or road, or air freight of cargo. Here services are disintegrated, with many operators and agreements involved. In ESL’s case, the unimodal service ends at port of Djibouti, after which the consignee will choose his/her transitor and/or transporter and enter agreement with to receive cargo in the hinterland of the country.

Customs and port clearing: Introducing time saving and reliable documentation process, ESLSE accomplishes, with utmost care, port and customs formalities and enables imported/exported cargoes to arrive at appropriate destination.

Trucking: ESL is equipped with modern heavy trucks with the objective of speeding up transportation of freight from Djibouti to inland ports or other designated destinations and vice versa. In this regard, ESL originally had 60 heavy duty trucks with a total lifting capacity of 2400 tons of dry cargo at a time. Its recently transferred company, Comet Transport SC, runs around 205 heavy duty trucks of its own. With Comet now merging with ESL, the Enterprise’s (ESL’s) present fleet size has risen to 265.
o Besides, last June, ESL and Comet jointly entered into Agreement Contract with Renault Trucks for the supply of 215 brand new heavy duty trucks by early 2015. This will soon raise the land fleet capacity of ESL to 480 trucks.
o Apart from its own trucks, ESL sub-contracts all the necessary trucks for direct or consolidated cargo delivery from private and public transport operators.

C. Services Provided by Port & Terminal Sector

It is essential that all imported goods have to timely serve the purpose they are intended for. They should reach the ultimate user at the right time. However, just before the import cargoes are supplied to the desired clients, they should be safely kept and processed in the dry ports. The Port & Terminal Sector of the Enterprise is a point of destination to Ethiopia’s imports and a point of consolidation for exports, where goods are loaded and unloaded; customs formalities are completed; goods are temporarily stored, stuffed and un-stuffed, made ready for transport, and dispatched to their final destinations.

Major services delivered in Port and Terminal Sector include:

  • Receiving and delivering cargoes
  • Cargo loading and unloading
  • Stuffing and un-stuffing of container goods
  • Temporary storage for import and export cargoes
  • Container cleaning and maintaining
  • Weight bridge
  • Costumes control and clearance
  • Banking and Insurance

The Enterprise endeavors to make these services more efficient and convenient to importers and exporters and play a crucial role in the logistics value chain.

To maintain the commendable economic growth that has been registered in the country over the last several years, one of the strategic measures taken by the Federal Government of Ethiopia is merging the former three public enterprises that have until recently been operating separately in a rather similar and interdependent maritime sub-sector; namely, Ethiopian Shipping Lines S.C, Maritime and Transit Services Enterprise and Dry Port Enterprise.

The Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise (ESL for short) is the result of this merger. This newly amalgamated enterprise came into being following the issuance of Regulation by the Council of Ministers (Regulation No. 255/2011), and is vested with the huge responsibility of rendering sea-transport & logistics services to the country’s importers, exporters, and investors in a more effective and efficient way, by reducing transit time, cost and handoffs. Besides, a truck operating company named Comet Transport SC has recently been transferred to ESL following a government decree issued in the mid of 2014.

As set out in the regulation issued by the federal government of Ethiopia in 2011 (Regulation No. 255/2011), the objectives for which the ESLSE is established are:
1.To render coastal and international marine and inland water transport services.
2.To render freight forwarding agency, multimodal transport, shipping agency and air agency services.
3.To provide the services of stevedore, shore-handling, dry-port, warehousing and other logistics services;
4.To provide container terminal services.
5.To engage in the development, management and operation of ports.
6.To establish and run human resources development and training center in the fields of maritime profession.
7.To study the country’s import and export trade demand and thereby develop technological capacity in order to render maritime and transit transport services.
8.To engage in other related activities conducive to the achievement of its objectives.

ESL has a multitude of vessels, heavy duty trucks, sea and dry port facilities, chicaneries, etc that enable it render efficient sea and land transport services as well as sea and dry port services.

ESL has its headquarters located in the heart of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with main branches at Djibouti, Modjo, and Kality (the former Comet) and other branches in Mekelle, DireDawa, Kombolcha, Semera and Gelan towns. It also has a Maritime Training Institute at a place called Babogaya in Bishoftu (former Debrezeit) Town.

The Enterprise is re-starting the building work of its Head Office, the process of which has been interrupted for some years due to construction related problems. The giant building in Laghar area is a 20 storey sky scraper that may accommodate all the enterprise’s functions at head office level, upon finishing, as well as partially serving as an apartment.

Organizational Structure

According to the Regulation issued by the Council of Ministers in 2011, the enterprise is supervised by the Ministry of Transport and has a Board of Management comprised of eight higher officials from various ministries.

After its establishment in Nov.2011, ESL embarked on designing an organizational structure that could bring together the functions of the former three enterprises in to an integrated operation. Accordingly, the enterprise put in place its own new organizational structure in Dec 2012 on the basis of which, it has one chief executive officer and four deputy chief executive officers appointed by the government to lead and direct the enterprise at top management level.

The enterprise has four sectors led by the four deputy CEO’s, namely:
1. Shipping Sector
2. Freight Forwarding Sector
3. Port & Terminal sector
4. Corporate Services Sector

There are also some 18 departments and 8 branches that report to the deputy CEO’s depending on line of function.

By providing competitive shipping & logistics services, to become preferred and renowned African logistics company by 2025.

Through building and upgrading organizational capacity, to render world class and competitive shipping & logistics services; thereby contributing towards the rapid economic growth of the country.


  • Reliability, transparency and accountability
  • Efficiency, productivity and professionalism
  • Readiness to learn and excel.

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