Transport in Djibouti

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Transport in Djibouti includes highways, airports, railways and seaports.


The country's first railway, Ethio-Djibouti Railway, was a metre gauge railway that connected Ethiopia to Djibouti. It was built between 1894 and 1917 by the French who ruled the country at the time as French Somaliland. The railway is no longer operational.

Currently (2018), Djibouti has 93 km of railways. The new Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, an electrified standard gauge railway built by two Chinese government firms, began regular operations in January 2018. Its main purpose is to facilitate freight services between the Ethiopian hinterland and the Djiboutian Port of Doraleh. Railway services are provided by the Ethio-Djibouti Standard Gauge Rail Transport Share Company, a bi-national company between Ethiopia and Djibouti, which operates all commuter and freight railway services in the country. Djibouti has a total of four railway stations, of which three (Nagad, Holhol and Ali Sabieh) can handle passenger traffic.


Map of Djibouti national highway

The Djiboutian highway system is named according to the road classification. Roads that are considered primary roads are those that are fully asphalted (throughout their entire length) and in general they connect all the major towns in Djibouti. There is a total of 3,065 kilometres (1,905 mi) of roads, with 1,379 kilometres (857 mi) paved and 1,686 kilometres (1,048 mi) unpaved, according to a 2000 estimate.[citation needed]

Primary Highways of Djibouti
Title Start point Intermediate point End point Road type
RN1 Djibouti City Dikhil Galafi
(border with Ethiopia)
RN2 Djibouti City n/a Loyada
(border with Somalia)
RN6 Dikhil As Eyla Kouta Bouyya Gravel

Ports and harbors

Djibouti has an improved natural harbor that consists of a roadstead, outer harbor, and inner harbor, known as the Port of Djibouti. The roadstead is well protected by reefs and by the configuration of the land. 95% of Ethiopia’s imports and exports move through Djiboutian ports. Car ferries pass the Gulf of Tadjoura from Djibouti City to Tadjoura.

For decades, the Port of Djibouti was Djibouti's only freight port. It is now in the process of being replaced by the Port of Doraleh west of Djibouti City. In addition to the Port of Doraleh, which handles general cargo and oil imports, Djibouti currently (2018) has three other major ports for the import and export of bulk goods and livestock, the Port of Tadjourah (potash), the Damerjog Port (livestock) and the Port of Goubet (salt).

Merchant marine

Djibouti has one ship with a volume of 1,000 gross register tons (GRT) or over totaling 1,369 GRT/3,030 tonnes deadweight (DWT) according to a 1999 estimate.[citation needed]


An Ilyushin Il-18 aircraft and ferrying bus on the Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport runway.

In 2004, there were an estimated 13 airports, only 3 of which had paved runways as of 2005. Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport, which is situated about 6 km from the city of Djibouti, is the country's international air terminal. There are also local airports at Tadjoura and Obock. Beginning in 1963, the state-owned Air Djibouti also provided domestic service to various domestic centers and flew to many overseas destinations. The national carrier discontinued operations in 2002. Daallo Airlines, a Somali-owned private carrier, has also offered air transportation since its foundation in 1991. With its hub at the Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport, the airline provides flights to a number of domestic and overseas destinations.

Airports - with paved runways

total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 3,047 m: 2 (2013 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 2 (2013 est.)



  • Michelon 745 Africa North East, Arabia 2007
  • GeoCenter Africa North East 1999

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2015 edition".

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