ETHIOPIAN Transport Minister Juneidi Sado confirmed on March 29 that Comazar of South Africa had been selected as preferred bidder for a concession to operate the Ethio-Djibouti Railway, ahead of a rival tender from Rites of India.

Following discussions with his counterpart from Djibouti Esmael Ibrahim, the minister said further negotiations were planned to finalise the terms of the 25-year agreement. The international tender is being administered by a joint council with representatives of the two ministries.

At present, the 1000 km line between Djibouti and Addis Abeba is reported to be carrying an average of 240000 tonnes of freight per year, employing 2700 people. The ministers hope that rehabilitation and better management will improve the throughput to 1·5 million tonnes a year.

  • On April 7 the Sheltam-led Rift Valley Railways consortium signed the final interface agreement bringing into effect the separate concessions to operate the Kenyan and Ugandan rail networks for 25 years. RVR Managing Director Roy Puffet signed the Ugandan concession with Transport Minister John Nasasira and Finance Minister Dr Ezra Suruma in Kampala on the same day, after a court injunction delaying the deal had been rejected. Financial close and handover of the two rail operations is expected by July 31.