Map of the Eastern Rail line
Scores of foreign investors have started arriving in Ghana for a conference being organized by the Ministry of Railways Development to bring government and players in the private sector together to discuss the development of the Eastern railway and Boankra Inland Port projects.
The government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Railways Development, headed by Joe Ghartey, is seeking Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to construct the Eastern railway from Tema through Accra to Kumasi, as well as the Boankra Port project.
The conference, slated for December 6, 2017 and expected to be held at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, seeks to encourage the private sector to partner government to undertake the proposed Boankra Inland Port and Eastern Railway Line projects in a Public Private Partnership (PPP), among others.
The conference dubbed, ‘Market Sounding Event’ also seeks to understand the key considerations of the private sector regarding their potential involvement in the proposed projects and to obtain feedback from potential private sector players.
Speaking to the media over the weekend ahead of the event, Donald B. Kress, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Railnet International, a US company, which is in the country to bid for the Eastern Railway project, lauded the efforts of government in revamping the country’s dormant rail sector.
“One reason why we are here is that Ghana wants to build the rail system. They have realized the economic viability of having a solid rail system,” he said.
He said the Eastern rail project has the potential of boosting Ghana’s economic growth and creating about 17,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Mr Kress, however, urged the government of Ghana to learn from the best practices in the rail sector of North America.
He also appealed to Ghanaians to support government’s vision of redeveloping the country’s rail sector.
About the projects
The Eastern Railway Line links Accra to Kumasi with a branch line from Achimota to Tema Port.
The total track length is 330 km, and the gauge is 1,067 mm.
The existing Eastern Railway Line was built in 1923 with narrow gauge standards. It was designed for an axle load limit of 13 tonnes.
Some sections of the railway line have been rendered unusable.
In these affected areas, there must be a complete overhaul of the railway formation in order to give it the requisite capacity to hold new tracks and axle load, if the existing alignment is to be maintained.
The Right of Way (RoW) has been encroached upon by developers and other people. Human resettlement and commercial activities along the rail pose a major threat to the efficient running of the rail system.
Several permanent and temporary structures have developed within the RoW, which may present social challenges to the development of the line in Tema, Achimota, Amasaman, Koforidua and other areas.
In most rural sections, the tracks are overgrown with weeds.
The Boankra Inland Port, strategically located near Kumasi, was initiated in 1990 by GPHA and GSA in order to create an inland extension to the Tema Port. Currently, the Boankra Inland Port has been partially developed with an administration block, access roads and utility connections.
There are plans for further development of the Inland Container Depot (ICD), shippers and freight forwarders offices, warehouses and commercial buildings.
Meanwhile, the sector ministry has set up a call centre with the following phone numbers: 030294840, 0302904855, 0302904841 and 0302904850, for businesses in the country who want to attend the event to register.
By Melvin Tarlue