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Ethiopia Transportations


It is estimated that more than half of Ethiopia's produce is transported by pack animals, reflecting the inadequacy of the country's road network and the rugged terrain. About 75% of Ethiopian farms are more than a one-day walk to the nearest road. The road system in 2004 comprised an estimated 36,469 km, of which 6,980 km was paved. The number of passenger cars in use in 2000 was 36,700, and the number of commercial vehicles 87,700. As of 2000, there was only one vehicle registered for every 1,795.4 inhabitants, fewer vehicles per capita than any other African nation. Bus services link provincial centres to the capital.

As of 2006, Ethiopia only had one expressway – the Addis Ababa Ring Road. This is a four-lane limited-access, divided highway, forming a beltway around the capital. Some portions are still yet to be completed. The majority of its interchanges consist of roundabouts. Pedestrian bridges were constructed every km, to reduce the risk of accidents. While not built to expressway standards, many roads in Addis Ababa and other cities can be considered dual carriageways and have up to 4 lanes in each direction with hardly any junctions.

Railways consist of a line from Djibouti to Addis Ababa that is 880 km long, of which 681 km are in Ethiopia, and is owned jointly by Djibouti and Ethiopia. Ethiopia's merchant fleet of 9 ships had a gross weight of 81,933 tons as of 2008. Neighbouring Djibouti also serves as a depot for Ethiopian trade. Only one river, the Baro, is used for transport.

There were 63 airports in 2009, out of which, only 17 of which had paved runways. The Addis Ababa airport handles international jet transportation. Before the civil war, the national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, flew to numerous African, Asian, and European cities, and had sole rights on domestic air traffic. In 2001, 1,027,500 passengers were carried on domestic and international flights.


63 (2009)

Airports - with paved runways
total 17
over 3,047 m 3
2,438 to 3,047 m 7
1,524 to 2,437 m 5
914 to 1,523 m 1
under 914 m 1 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways
total 46
2,438 to 3,047 m 3
1,524 to 2,437 m 11
914 to 1,523 m 23
under 914 m 9 (2009)

total 681 km (Ethiopian segment of the 781 km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad)
narrow gauge 681 km 1.000-m gauge
note railway is under joint control of Djibouti and Ethiopia but is largely inoperable (2008)

total 36,469 km
paved 6,980 km
unpaved 29,489 km (2004)

Merchant marine
total 9
by type cargo 8, roll on/roll off 1 (2008)

Ports and terminals
Ethiopia is landlocked and uses ports of Djibouti in Djibouti and Berbera in Somalia





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