The Minister of Railway Development Mr. Joe Ghartey Tuesday said over 1,400 kilometer (km) railway lines, expected to cost about $7.8 billion, would be created between three cities notably the Volta lake city, Ashanti rail city and the Paga rail city.
According to Mr Ghartey, the Eastern line of 300 km would be from Accra to Kumasi, with a central spine line of 595 km linking Kumasi to Paga, with another 58 km linking Kumasi to Nyinahin and a 102 km line linking Tamale to Yendi, adding that, this would ensure a convenient and comfortable trade links among the cities.
The Minister announced this at a Market Sounding event for both local and foreign potential investors at the Alisa Hotel, Accra, to deliberate on how best to expand the Boankra Inland Port and the Eastern Railway Lines.
Mr Ghartey said “the infrastructure development in the towns where the rail lines would pass would be improved to facilitate the efficient transportation of passengers and goods.
There would also be improvement in internal trade and also with neighbouring countries, with reduction in road maintenance cost and fewer road accidents, which would also have a lower transport cost for both freight and passengers, due to the lower cost of transportation by rail” he added.
On the Boankra Inland Port, which is strategically located near Kumasi and partially developed with an administration block, access roads and utility connections, the Minister said the port would get a facelift from the investors to boost the carriage of containers in the northern sector of Ghana to ease pressure at the Tema port.
There are also plans to develop an Inland Container Depot, port administration, shippers and freight forwarders offices, warehouses and commercial buildings.
The Inland Port would also require the development of customs coordination protocols, customs clearance procedures and controls.
Both the local and foreign investors brainstormed about the work at hand and how the proposed Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements and would be operated under the Build Operate Transfer (BOT) system.
Mr Ghartey gave the assurance that “Government was fully committed to the BOT arrangement and we are only going to contribute the right way (lands, assets).
The two projects are expected to be completed by 2020.