Transport in Eritrea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
An Eritrean Airlines Boeing 767-366/ER aircraft. The national carrier is based in Asmara.

Transport in Eritrea includes highways, airports and seaports, in addition to various forms of public and private vehicular, maritime and aerial transportation.


This steam locomotive dating from the 1930s still operates, carrying both freight and tourists.

As of 1999, there was a total of 317 kilometres of 950 mm (3 ft 1 38 in) (narrow gauge) rail line in Eritrea. The railway links Agordat and Asmara with the port of Massawa; however, it was nonoperational since 1978 except for about a 5 kilometre stretch that was reopened in Massawa in 1994. Rehabilitation of the remainder and of the rolling stock has occurred in recent years. By 2003, the line had been restored from Massawa all the way through to Asmara.

There are no rail links with adjacent countries.


The Railway line Massawa-Asmara between Ghinda and Embatkalla.

The Eritrean highway system is named according to the road classification. The three levels of classification are: primary (P), secondary (S), and tertiary (T). The lowest level road is tertiary and serves local interests. Typically they are improved earth roads which are occasionally paved. During the wet seasons these roads typically become impassable. The next higher level road is a secondary road and typically is a single-layered asphalt road that connects district capitals together and those to the regional capitals. Roads that are considered primary roads are those that are fully asphalted (throughout their entire length) and in general they carry traffic between all the major towns in Eritrea.

Primary Highways of Eritrea[1]
Title Start point Intermediate point End point Road type
P-1 Asmara Ghinda Massawa Asphalt
P-2 Asmara Adi Tekelezan Keren Asphalt
P-3 Asmara Adi Keyh Senafe Asphalt
P-4 Asmara Mendefera Mareb River
(border with Ethiopia)
P-5 Keren Barentu Tesseney Asphalt
P-6 Massawa Tiyo Asseb Gravel
P-7 Asseb n/a Bure Asphalt
P-8 Gahtelai Shebah She'eb Asphalt
P-9 Serejeqa n/a Shebah Gravel

total: 4,010 km
paved: 874 km
unpaved: 3,136 km (1996 est.)

Seaports and harbours[edit]

The Massawa harbor/port was created by the Italians.[2]

Red Sea[edit]

Merchant marine[edit]

total: 5 ships (with a volume of 1,000 gross tonnage (GT) or over) totaling 16,069 GT/19,549 tonnes deadweight (DWT)
ships by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo ship 1, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll-on/roll-off ship 1 (1999 est.)


There are three international airports, one in the capital, Asmara International Airport, and the two others in the coastal cities, Massawa (Massawa International Airport) and Assab (Assab International Airport). The airport in Asmara received all international flights into the country as of March 2007, as well as being the main airport for domestic flights.

21 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways[edit]

Name Length of the runway
Asmara 3,000 metres (9,800 ft)
Massawa 3,500 metres (11,500 ft)
Assab 3,515 metres (11,532 ft)

Airports - with unpaved runways[edit]

total: 18
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 2 (1999 est.)


The Asmara-Massawa Cableway, built by Italy in the 1930s, connected the port of Massawa with the city of Asmara. The British later dismantled it during their eleven-year occupation after defeating Italy in World War II.


  1. ^ "Eritrea Road Network and Distances" (Press release). Ministry of Public Works. August 2003.
  2. ^ Italian Massawa

See also[edit]