Chinese consortium to operate and maintain Ethiopia light rail system

Light Rail Ethiopia
Light Rail under construction in Ethiopia

Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) has selected a consortium of China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and Shenzhen Metro Group to handle the operation and maintenance of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system in Ethiopia for the next five years.

ERC had advertised the tender seeking experienced rail operators for the LRT project currently underway in Addis Abeba – which was won by the consortium. The LRT project is being implemented at an estimated cost of US$475m, which was initially scheduled for completion in January next year.

Official documents for the deal will be signed at a later date. The consortium is going to be paid US$116m by ERC for the services over the next five years.

Shenzhen Metro Group is expected to implement the technology that they are currently using to operate the rail system of the city of Shenzhen. The consortium will bring in 290 professionals from China who will work together with 396 Ethiopians on operation and maintenance of the project. With time, the number of Chinese nationals working on the project is expected to decrease as more Ethiopians take charge of the entire project.

The LRT is 34.35 km long and with two primary routes, one running from the north to the south of the city while the other connects the east and the west, both covering equivalent distances. According to the LRT design, some 20 overpasses along both routes will be constructed; out of which six will have major roundabouts.

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