Ethiopia is grappling with significant obstacles in its coffee export, as logistical disruptions on both land and sea routes hinder the global supply chain.

Strained relations between Addis Ababa and Mogadishu further exacerbate the situation, impeding Addis Ababa’s use of the Somalia port for coffee exports.

A memorandum of understanding signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland last year aimed at granting landlocked Addis Ababa access to a seaport has heightened tensions with Mogadishu, which believes that breakaway Hargeisa is part of its territory.

The reliance on the Djibouti port has intensified the challenges for Ethiopia, particularly with the decline in ship arrivals at the harbour due to ongoing Houthi attacks along the Red Sea.

The reduction from daily to a mere one ship per month has left Ethiopia, the world’s fifth-largest coffee producer, burdened with substantial stocks awaiting market access.

As a consequence of this dilemma, the port of Mombasa emerges as a potential beneficiary, offering an alternative to the Somalia port. However, logistical issues and distance complicate this option, as reported by a source quoted in The Reporter publication.

The Red Sea, a critical route for global oil and fuel shipments, witnessed a surge in Houthi attacks, employing drones and rockets against foreign-owned vessels, further intensifying challenges for shipping companies.

The Bab al-Mandab strait, a vital passage between Yemen and Djibouti/Eritrea, serves as a crucial conduit for shipping lines, with alternative routes significantly extending travel times and costs.

The suspension of operations in the Bab al-Mandab strait by major shipping companies, responsible for facilitating at least 10 percent of global trade annually, poses far-reaching implications for international trade routes.