Ghana Western Railway agreement (2)

GHANA: A 25-year agreement for the development of the 299 km Western Railway has been signed by the government and a consortium of Thelo DB and local partner Transtech Consult.

Under the agreement, national railway Ghana Railway Co will act as rail operator and Thelo DB will as rail manager for the US$3·2bn project. This includes replacing the 339 km legacy and mostly out-of-use 1 067 mm gauge line between Takoradi, Kumasi, Dunkwa and Awaso with a modern 1 435 mm gauge corridor, including double tracking, realignment and the construction of various extensions or cut-offs.

Thelo DB said this would ‘transform Ghana’s existing network into a modern, robust and integrated railway system’, running from the port of Takoradi to Huni Valley, Dunkwa and Obuasi, with a branch from Dunkwa to Awaso (73 km) and Nyinahin (64 km) and a line from Obuasi to Eduadin (51 km).


Ghana Western Railway agreement (1)

The agreement signed in Accra on August 22 covers preparatory activities including feasibility studies, demand analysis, preliminary and detailed design and procurement consulting; implementation activities including systems engineering design, construction supervision, design review, auditing and testing and commissioning of rolling stock and infrastructure; and operations & maintenance management services including early train operator consultancy covering infrastructure and rolling stock operations and maintenance. It also includes training.

The work is to be funded on a ring-fenced project finance basis. The consortium will work with Afrieximbank to structure and mobilise financing, with financial close expected within six months.

Thelo DB will work with an EPC contractor for the construction of the infrastructure, and then act as the overall railway manager for the duration of the agreement.


‘The intention of this project is to develop, implement and operationalise the Western Railway as a fully integrated system to enable efficient mobility of freight and passengers’, said Ronnie Ntuli, Chairman of Thelo DB which was formed by South African investment group Thelo Ventures and the Deutsche Bahn Engineering & Consulting subsidiary of Germany’s state railway to offer the African market expertise in complex railway projects.

Ntuli said the project ’will in turn, catalyse investment, infrastructure development, promote trade, skills development and job creation thereby generating broader economic growth in Ghana, and hopefully, the broader West Africa region’.

The consortium said the project would ensure that the rail infrastructure is upgraded to provide interoperability, new and standardised rolling stock, suitable maintenance facilities, a spare parts regime and integration with other modes.

‘Currently, the transportation of freight, including minerals and other bulk commodities along the Western Corridor is predominantly by means of the road network due to the poor state of the railways’, said Minister of Railway Development John-Peter Amewu.

‘The Western Railway has a very huge potential in terms of the haulage of both liquid and bulk cargo’, he said, with predicted traffic including 7 mpta of manganese and 15 mtpa of bauxite, plus an additional 5 mtpa of bauxite from deposits at Nyinahin. Bulk Oil Storage & Transportation Co Ltd is predicted to send 1.5 billion litres of oil products along the corridor. Other commodities transported include cocoa, timber and cement, with ’huge haulage potential based on their respective projected volumes’.

The minister said ’rail transport is therefore critical to the success and achievement of all these traffic projections since it provides a cheaper and more efficient means of transporting such commodities’.