Business News of Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Russian Railway Company, Geo Services, has said it is ready to invest over US$12.5 billion in the redevelopment of Ghana’s Railway network, a project the Akufo-Addo government is keen on realizing.
Its CEO, Sergey Kamnev, told the B&FT that should his company win the bid, Ghana should expect nothing but the best in railway infrastructure.
Mr. Kamnev led a delegation to attend the market sounding event organised by the Ministries of Railways Development and Transport, on the development of the Eastern Railway Line and the Boankra Inland Port projects.
Government is seeking to enter into a Public, Private Partnership arrangement for the two specific projects, for which an estimated US$2.4 billion is required.
“With our own unofficial pre-feasibility conducted, we are assuring you that we will give Ghana the best. Considering our record, even in the area of fatalities within the industry, I can say that, with over 100years experience in Railway in the world, we have recorded, I am sure, the least of fatalities,” Sergey Kamnev told the B&FT at the event in Accra.
“Having said that, if we are given the right to build the rail lines in Ghana, we are going to use Ghanaians to manufacture everything in Ghana, from Executive wagons to bolt and knots. This is going to help us open, at least, 20 factories in the country,” he added.
Eastern Railway Line to be completed by 2020
The Minister of Railway Development, Joe Ghartey, also told the B&FT that the government has set 2020 as the deadline for the completion of the Eastern Railway line project.
The project, he said, will accommodate speed trains which have a speed of over 500km per hour, which will make the journey faster and easier.
“The government is ready and feasibility is almost complete; that is why we are having this market sounding event which is a meeting with investors to share ideas on how to build a better railway network in Ghana.
I have directed that the project is completed by 2020, using speed trains. Ghana deserves the best and we, as a government, is will to sign up for the best in this project for Ghana,” he stated.
The market sounding conference was attended by investors interested in partnering government in the rehabilitation and expansion of the country’s rail network from the south to Paga in the Upper East Region.
Ghana’s rail network that is currently operational, which is approximately 947 kilometres, is faced with an obsolete network and poor track infrastructure, resulting in the closure of greater part of the Western and Eastern lines and the entire Central line, leading to a high incidence of derailments that lead to loss of operational hours and damage to rolling stock.
The revamping of the railways sector is expected to happen hand-in-hand with the construction of the Boankra Inland Port, strategically located near Kumasi, to ease the movement of goods to the northern parts of the country and neighbouring landlocked countries.