The Ministry of Railways Development (MRD) has reached the final stage of procuring a strategic investor for the development of the Eastern Railway Line project which seeks to link Accra to Kumasi.
The process which is being done through competitive bidding has so far shortlisted 14 consortia, with the preferred bidder expected to be announced soon to pave the way for the construction to start early next year.
The project will be run on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis, with strong Ghanaian participation assured.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, announced this when he appeared before Parliament to present the mid-year 2018 budget review.
The Eastern Railway Line links Accra to Kumasi with a branch line from Achimota to the Tema port. The total track length is 330km, and the gauge is 1,067mm.
Apart from the stretch from Accra to Nsawam and Accra to Tema which are being used for passenger traffic, the line is currently not operational due to its poor state.
The reconstruction of the Eastern Railway Line will include financing, development and operation of the 330km line and will include the provision of rolling stock, station upgrades, signalling and communication equipment.
Benefits of the project
The project, when completed, is expected to decongest the Tema port and enhance the operational efficiency of the port; provide an efficient and safer alternative to the road network, which is already congested; and enhance Ghana’s role as a transit corridor to landlocked neighbouring countries.
It is also expected to feed traffic from other modes of transport to the inland port; enhance socio-economic and commercial development in the Ashanti Region and the Eastern Corridor; improve services to customers and reduce the cost of transport, especially in trade to and from the hinterland and the northern regions of Ghana.
Eleven shortlisted for Accra-Ouagadougou network
The minister also pointed out that the Accra to Ouagadougou rail network, another BOT project, had 11 entities shortlisted, with the procurement process scheduled to be completed this year for construction to commence in the first quarter of next year.
This line will serve the eastern part of Ghana and will go through Ho, Hohoe, Yendi, Tamale, Bolgatanga and Paga.
He said one of the major transformational programmes of the government was to build a modern, nationwide railway network system for both passengers and cargo.
“Our approach is one of building an integrated infrastructural network to facilitate industrialisation, trade and urbanisation across the country,” he said.
He said work had also already started with real estate developers to build homes along the 95km Tema to Mpakadan rail line.
“I joined three other colleague ministers, namely Works & Housing, Lands & Natural Resources, and Roads & Highways, to meet with real estate developers on the project of building affordable homes along this main transportation networks,” he mentioned — GB.