2.5 Ethiopia Waterways Assessment

River and/or Lake Port Assessment

Ethiopia does not have any major river ports. Gambella Region has the Baro River which has been utilized during the rainy season for transporting emergency supplies to the Upper Nile State of South Sudan in 2012 and 2013

Gambella River Update

There are 4 river ports in Gambella; Gambella, Itang, Matar (Alwero River) and Burbe. They are accessible at various times of the year dependent on water levels. On average very high-water levels from July to October during the rainy season and very low water levels from January to April. It is important to note that the road section at Puldieng, which is about 65 km from Gambella town on the way to Mater port, floods during the rainy season due to the Baro river busting its banks and, in most cases, becomes impossible until the water recedes. That section of the road and other smaller sections ahead were completely cut off in 2014 and 2020 by flood waters rendering no access to Mater port by road. On both occasions repairs were carried out by the Ethiopia Road Authority (ERA) to enable access. The majority of boats using the river have a capacity of 30MT although several can carry 40 to 50MT. They are used regularly to transport commercial goods and people between South Sudan and Gambella. From late July till October it is possible to utilize a large barge with up to 1,600MT capacity from Gambella river port. This barge was utilized in 2012 from Gambella to Upper Nile State in South Sudan. Gambella port is accessible when the water levels are very high. Also, important to note is that along the river there are rocks on the riverbed that hinder smooth navigation of boats and therefore extra caution has to be taken. Currently, river transporters are hesitant in using Gambella port for the sole reason of possible damage to their boats and loss of cargo.

Refer to the links below for further details: 

Ethiopia - South Sudan Cross Corridor Road Assessment Mission Report

4.1 Ethiopian Government Contact List

4.4 Ethiopia Port and Waterways Company Contact List

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