Jun 23, 2017: Djibouti has opened the new $64 million Port, Port of Ghoubet. This is the third of the four ports designed to boost the tiny Horn of Africa nation's position as a trading hub. Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority (DFZA) said in a statement that the Port of Ghoubet would serve as a terminal to export of salt from Lake Assal, a saline lake that lies below sea level.

The port would be able to handle ships up to 100,000 deadweight tonnes, with a capacity to export over 5 million tonnes of salt a year, the ports authority said. The nation, with a population of 876,000, already hosts the US and the French naval bases, while China is building a base reports the news agency.

Djibouti handles about 95 percent of the inbound trade for neighbouring Ethiopia, which has a population 99 million. The ports authority opened another port, Tadjourah, on June 15 to export potash, which is used to make fertiliser. Tadjourah was built at the cost of $90 million and has a capacity to handle 4 million tonnes of potash a year.

"Both projects are part of the government’s efforts to develop critical infrastructure in the north, including the redevelopment of regional highways," the ports authority said.

In May, Djibouti launched the Doraleh Multipurpose Port, which can handle 8 million tonnes a year, including container traffic and bulk cargo.

Djibouti mainly handles goods from Asia, representing nearly 60 percent of traffic, the port authority says. In 2015, overall traffic to Djibouti increased 20 percent to 5.7 million tonnes.

As part of its infrastructure development, Djibouti launched a $327 million cross-border project this week for the supply of drinking water from Ethiopia, said Mohamed Fouad Abdo, director of the National Office for Water and Sanitation.

Photo Courtesy: Reuters