Transnet SOC Ltd, led by its chairperson Dr Popo Molefe, signed a rail revitalisation agreement with Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) and Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) that will see the restoration of the Western Railway Line in Ghana.
The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo and the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa witnessed the historic agreement at a signing ceremony in Ghana.
The signing ceremony is the culmination of a process which started in 2018 with a signing of a Joint Statement of Intent between Ghana’s Minister of Railways Development, Joe Ghartey and South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan.
This rail agreement between the two countries and rail entities (Transnet, GRDA and GRCL) seeks to bring back to full operation Ghana’s narrow gauge between Takoradi and Tarkwa. The first phase of this major railway project will entail the following:
· Rehabilitating and maintaining the line;
· Refurbishing and maintaining the existing rolling stock (locomotives and wagons);
· Supplying additional rolling stock;
· Jointly operating the line; and
· Skills development.
This milestone follows a number of fruitful interactions between GRCL, GRDA and Transnet which owns and operates a railway network of over 30,000km in South Africa, transports over 200 million tonnes of cargo annually and operates the world’s longest
narrow gauge freight train of over 4km long. These interactions included a study tour of Transnet’s facilities as well as an assessment of the existing railway network, wagons and locomotives and operations of GRCL.
In the immediate term, a newly established joint project team will undertake a due diligence of the current infrastructure and operations. This exercise will determine the 2project implementation plan that will be subject to the approval of the respective Board of Directors of each entity and the regulatory authorities of both Ghana and South Africa.
Commenting on the milestone, TIH’s Chief Executive, Petrus Fusi said “Transnet is committed to working with local Ghanaian companies in order to achieve the objectives of the project. Through this partnership with GRCL and GRDA, Transnet strongly believes that it will significantly contribute to the revival of Ghana’s railway infrastructure and operations and return it to full reliability.
This is expected to ultimately result in a shift of transporting bulk cargo from road to rail and contribute to a reduction in Ghana’s cost of logistics.”
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