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Ethiopian Airlines commissioned a USD 55 million e-commerce logistics hub in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, thereby becoming the first in Africa to do so.

The airline also said that despite the devaluation of Naira against the Dollar, its traffic out of Nigeria had remained stable, but regretted the trapped funds.

Speaking exclusively on the sideline of the inauguration of the facility with Daily Independent, MesfinTasew, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), said that it may consider also opening such an e-commerce facility in Nigeria in the future, but said the current facility would serve its entire markets, including Africa, Europe and America.

He stated that the facility would cater for 150,000 tons of cargo annually, while mails and parcels would also be packaged from the center in the meantime.

Tasew said that already, the airline had partnered with renowned e-commerce companies around the world, including Ali Baba from China, insisting that e-commerce logistics was the future of cargo movement. He emphasized that the use of the facility would gradually move Ethiopian Airlines from conventional cargo to e-commerce cargo movement, thereby reducing errors in the system.

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He said: “This new e-commerce logistics hub was built by Ethiopian Airlines Group to facilitate the development of e-commerce in Ethiopia and Africa. Historically and until now, Ethiopian Airlines has been in the cargo business to transport cargo by air, but our mode of operations was mostly on conventional cargo for small and large cargo transportation.

“But, as you know, e-commerce is the future; the western world is using e-commerce extensively because they are ready for it in terms of its platform, payment and daily services. Unfortunately, Africa is not yet there. So, Ethiopian Airlines understands that it is a matter of time for Africa to endorse e-commerce as a way of life, as a way of doing business, and trade.

“Our focus now is on the logistics part of e-commerce. So, it is difficult to know how much revenue to generate now, but it will start at a small level and continue to grow. Until that happens, this facility is going to be used also for mail and parcel services. This facility will do it automatically and with minimal mistakes.”

On the devaluation of Naira and effect on passenger movement, Tasew declared that the operation of the airline was not negatively impacted by this policy.

He, however, emphasized that the airline lost some amount of money due to the devaluation of the nation’s currency by the Federal Government.

He also lamented that the funds trapped in Nigeria was having a negative impact on its operations in the country. “It has affected our cash management because since we are not able to take out our money, which is accumulating in Nigerian banks and due to the devaluation, we lost some money in the exchange rate, but in terms of passenger volume, we didn’t see any negative impact so far.


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