On 25 February in Kombolcha, Ethiopia, a ceremony took place for the Awash-Kombolcha-Hara Gebaya Railway Project.

Those present at the ceremony included Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Minister of Transport Werkneh Gebeyehu, and Yapı Merkezi Construction Chairman Başar Arıoğlu.

Yapı Merkezi is the first Turkish construction company to undertake such a major turnkey railway project. The Awash-Kombolcha-Hara Gebaya Railway Project is one of the most important development projects in Ethiopia.

As well as arranging financing for the project, Yapı Merkezi also initiated a financial relationship between Ethiopia, Europe and Turkey by gathering together Turkish Eximbank and European Financiers.

Amounting to $1.7bn, the project is also a good example of Turkish Eximbank’s proactive export model and the strong ties between Turkey and Ethiopia.

Starting from the northeast of Awash city and arriving at Weldia through the city of Kombolcha, The 391km-long railway has great strategic importance, as it brings together the northern and eastern economic zones of Ethiopia.

The railway will connect the northern railway line from Mekelle to Hara Gebeya to Tadjourah, and the central railway line from Addis to Djibouti Port, which is the main transport corridor for both passenger and freight traffic.

Furthermore, Awash-Kombolcha- Hara Gebeya Railway will play an active and significant role in connecting the northern region of the country with the central region.

All works including design, construction, earthworks, viaducts, bridges, tunnels, trackworks, passenger stations, depot and workshop, power supply, catenary, signalling, telecommunication, OCC & SCADA, as well as personnel training, will be carried out by Yapı Merkezi.

With such a wide scope, the project also has great importance as an international milestone for the Turkish contracting and railway industries.