The Government of Ghana (GoG), through the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and the Ministry of Railways Development (MoRD) and their respective agencies, namely; Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA)and the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA), hosted a market sounding event for the Boankra Inland Port and the Eastern Railway Line project last week. The event took place on Wednesday, 6th December.
The project aims to ease the congestion at the main ports in Ghana, the Tema and Takoradi ports, and also to bring import and export services closer to the door-steps of shippers in the northern part of Ghana as well as in the landlocked neighbouring countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. It is to be developed through a public-private partnership.
The objectives of the market sounding were to assess the interest of the private sector in partnering with the government to undertake the proposed Eastern Railway Line and Boankra Inland Port Project on a PPP basis; to determine the market appetite and preferences for specific private sector participation models for the proposed project; to understand the key considerations of the private sector regarding their potential involvement in the proposed project; and to obtain feedback from potential private sector parties to guide the preparation of the procurement documentation for the bidding process.
At the event, which was held in Accra, Minister of Railway Development Joe Ghartey addressed around three hundred investors, project developers, financial institutions, shipping lines, and freight forwarders and policymakers. Regarding the current state of the railway, he stated:
“The Eastern Railway Line is currently virtually non-operational, and the rail tracks are in a deplorable state. The tracks are worn out, the wooden sleepers are rotten, and the track ballast cushions are thin. Beyond Nsawam, most of the tracks have either been removed or stolen.”
The extent of the development required is reflected in the government’s cost estimates. It is seeking to raise US$1.8 billion to develop the Eastern Railway Line, which was built in 1923, to modern standards.
In contrast, the Boankra Inland Port was initiated in 1990. It has been partially developed, with an administration block, access roads and utility connections. Plans for further development include an Inland Container Depot; port administration, shippers and freight forwarders offices; warehouses and commercial buildings. The government is seeking to raise an estimated US$600 million for this work.