Business News of Saturday, 16 December 2017
A German-French Railway Consortium (GFRC) will soon begin the construction of the Accra-Kumasi railway line.
The project will be the first joint German-French economic activity in Africa.
When completed, the railway line would boost trade operations between the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions and reduce the pressure on the Accra-Kumasi road.
The companies that have formed the consortium are ALSTOM S.A, a French railway company, and LINDE AG, a Germany company that deals in technology.
The consortium was founded purposely to pool resources to plan and construct the railway network in Ghana.
The first phase of the project, entailing the construction of a double track for the Accra-Tema-Kumasi corridor, is expected to be completed in four years.
The second phase, involving the construction of double tracks to connect Kumasi with Paga, will begin after the completion of the first phase.
As part of the second phase, a single track corridor from Kumasi to Takoradi will be constructed to complete the project to give the country’s railway system a facelift.
A statement signed by Mr Ralf Blankenbach and Mr Heinz Kroczek from the consortium and issued in Accra yesterday said the entire projects had been designed by a qualified and experienced railway engineering group to reflect the given requirements and in accordance with German and French standards.
“Well-experienced French and German construction companies, in close cooperation with Ghanaian construction companies, will be responsible for the construction of both the underground civil engineering works and the superstructure/rail track construction in all railways in Ghana,” the statement said.
According to the statement, by pooling their resources, capabilities and experiences, France and Germany have developed a strong and reliable possibility to counter the Chinese and other relevant competitors, including Russians and Americans in Africa and Ghana in particular.
The statement said the entire basic infrastructure for all corridors, including civil engineering construction works without surface/track construction, would be implemented at once as the final state of the system in order to avoid double efforts and costs.
“Furthermore, the experts of the GFRC will use a special soil stabilisation technology, well-experienced railway construction projects in Europe. This will reduce the investment and avoid any damages to the environment,” it said.
The statement further stated that the designed concept of the project would include “the basis area for the single/double tract structure plus a so-called service road on both sides of the tracts.
“This will guarantee that the operation of trains is never disturbed by maintenance activities nor will there be any disturbances once the single track is already in operation. Further, the service roads will secure any emergency transports in case of accident(s). No rail track would be necessary for transport,” it said.
Apart from the French-German interest, the Chinese, Americans, Indians, Russians have shown interest in the rail project.
Review of railway master plan
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Railway Development announced plans to review the US$ 21.5 billion railway master plan which was developed in 2013 to construct a new railway network comprising 4,007.6 kilometres across the country within a period of 30 years.
According to the ministry, although the plan was good, it was not ambitious enough because 30 years was too long a time to develop the country’s railway sector.
Railway master plan
The railway master plan, which was completed in 2013, proposes a new railway network comprising 4,007.6 kilometres across the country.
The master plan is expected to be completed in six phases, with the first phase being the rehabilitation of existing rail lines.