New Road Construction to Enhance Ethiopia-Sudan Trade


All companies involved in the project, which runs along Ethiopia’s import-export pathway to Sudan, are local




SUR Construction Plc is building a 104 km asphalt road for 1.6 billion Br along Ethiopia’s import-export pathway to Sudan.

The road – Dansha-Abdrafi-Maycadran – will start 10.5kms off Dansha and end in Humera at the Lugdi junction. It will cover an area which currently only has gravel roads for part of the way and no roads at all for the rest, according to a press release from the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA). SUR beat 13 local and international firms to the project, which was designed by a local firm, Core Consulting Engineers Plc. It will be 10m wide and have seven bridges. Highway Engineers & Consultants Plc are the consultants for the project.

The contract – signed on Tuesday, November 26, 2013, at the ERA’s headquarters at Mexico Square – requires that the construction be complete within three years.

The road traverses an area famous for its sesame and cotton production and is one of the locations identified for potential agro-industries.

The trade volume between Ethiopia and Sudan is expected to increase following the completion of the road, says Samson Wondimu, public relations director at the ERA. The trade volume, through Humera, between the two countries included 12,760tn of grain, 12,753tn of pulses and 19,066 cattle heads in 2010, according to a World Food Programme (WFP) report.

The project is part of the fourth Road Sector Development Programme (RSDP), which runs from 2010 to 2015, and focuses on raising road standards, building subsidiary roads and improving roads with high traffic. The Authority has budgeted 30 billion Br for this fiscal year, on top of the 142.1 billion Br spent in total over the 16 years of the programme, according to the performance report released in November 2013.

Through this programme, road coverage in Ethiopia has risen from 26,550km in 1997 to 85,966km by the end of the last fiscal year. Asphalt roads in particular, rose from 3,708km to 11,301km during the same period, and this new road will now add to that total.

Another goal of the ERA during this phase, which is to raise the participation of local contractors and consultants in federal road projects, will also be met during this project, as all companies involved are local.

SUR was established 22 years ago. Its capital during this time – during which it has handled 90 projects – has grown from 108 million Br to 1.5 billion, according to Tadesse Yemane, the general manager of the company.

“We are familiar with the area, and we currently have a number of projects there,” Tadesse said.

SUR previously built the 128km Gonder-Dansha asphalt road in Amhara Regional State, completing the project in December 2010. Currently, the company is handling the construction of the Welkayt Sugar Development Project’s 150m high dam in Tigray region, according to Tadesse.

But the agreed construction timeline of three years may be a challenge for the company.

“Usually this kind of timeframe is set for 60km or 70km roads,” said the general manager.

In order to meet the deadline, two teams will be deployed to work on the project. Personnel and heavy machines will start arriving in the area within the coming week, according to Tadesse.



By YOSEPH MEKONNEN
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on December 1, 2013 [ Vol 14 ,No 709]


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