Djibouti - Transportation

About 100 km (62 mi) of the single-track, meter-gauge railway linking the capital with Addis Ababa traverses the Republic of Djibouti. It was closed during the Somali-Ethiopian War of 1977-78; by the time it reopened, the Ethiopians had developed their port of Assab (now part of Eritrea), so traffic did not return to its former level. However, in 1998, Djibouti and Ethiopia announced plans to revitalize the century-old railroad that links their capitals.

Djibouti had 2,890 km (1,796 mi) of road in 2002, 364 km (226 mi) of which was paved. A tarred road runs most of the distance from Djibouti city to Dikhil, Yoboki, and Galafi, on the Ethiopian border, where it connects with the main Assab-Addis Ababa highway. Except for the 40-km (25-mi) road from Djibouti city to Arta, all other roads are rough. A secondary road connects Obock and Tadjoura, on the northern side of the Gulf of Tadjoura, with Randa and Dorra in the northern interior. A highway between Djibouti city and Tadjoura was completed by 1991.

Djibouti's improved natural harbor consists of a roadstead, outer harbor, and inner harbor. The roadstead is well protected by reefs and the configuration of the land. The inner harbor has five outer and six inner berths for large vessels. A quarter of Ethiopia's imports and half of its exports move through the port. Car ferries ply the Gulf of Tadjoura from Djibouti city to Tadjoura and Obock, which are ports of minor commercial importance. As of 1998, Djibouti had one cargo ship totaling 1,369 GRT. However, by 2002 there was no longer a merchant marine.

Also in 2001, there were 12 total airports, only three of which had paved runways. Ambouli Airport, about 6 km (4 mi) from the city of Djibouti, is the country's international air terminal. There are local airports at Tadjoura and Obock. Air Djibouti, partly government-owned and partly owned by Air France, provides domestic service to six centers and flies to a number of overseas destinations.

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