(Yicai Global) Jan. 3 -- The USD4-billion China-built Ethiopia-Djibouti railroad entered commercial operation on Jan. 1 to become the first standard-gauge electrified railroad in East Africa.
China Railway Group Ltd. and China Civil Engineering Construction Corp. partnered up to build the 751-kilometer line, which will cut land transport times between the two nations from one week to one day, state-backed news outlet the People’s Daily reported. The railroad will also be used for humanitarian relief in Ethiopia.
The transport link marks another step in China’s Belt and Road Initiative and is one of ten major projects proposed at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit, held in Johannesburg. It is a landmark venture in high-speed rail and will contribute toward capacity cooperation between China and Africa.
Often compared with the ancient Silk Road, the One Belt, One Road initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. It is a grand 30- to 40-year plan for a vast infrastructure and trade route boasting a major network of railroads, highways, ports and pipelines embracing the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.
Trains can reach speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour on the line, which has 45 stops on its route.