Ghana’s Minister of Railway, Mr. Joe Ghartey has revealed that South Africa’s leading railway and ports company, Transnet International Holdings will be supplying one hundred and ten (110) wagons to the Ghana Railway Company Limited by end of this year. It also includes the supply of twenty-two (22) coaches, two (2) locomotives for the passenger service, and two power vans with first class kitchen to render first class services to passengers.
Mr. Joe Ghartey and Minister Pravin Gordlan share a joke before the meeting. This, the Minister said, will signify a new dawn of hope for the country’s ailing railway company. According to him, this is being made possible as a result of a partnership with South Africa’s Ministry of State Enterprises, through Transnet International Holdings.
Mr. Joe Ghartey says he is upbeat about the renaissance of the railway sector of the country with the coming on board of this partnership and is thus encouraging Ghanaians to be optimistic about government’s efforts at revamping the sector.
He says with the coming on board of Transnet, the dream of revamping the ailing rail sector of Ghana will become a reality. He said the South Africans have shown an unflinching interest in the development of the rail network of the country, and are eager to roll out action plans quickly.
Mr. Joe Ghartey, Ghana’s Minister for Railway Development, making a point during the meeting in Cape Town.
Speaking to newsmen in Cape Town, South Africa, after an interaction with South Africa’s Minister for Public Enterprises, Minister Pravin Gordlan, Hon Joe Ghartey indicated that Transnet International Holdings and the Ghana Railway Company Limited will be collaborating on a number of interventions.
According to him, the partnership will be from the training of personnel to the provision of coaches and wagons, and the maintenance of the rail line in Ghana.
Mr. Joe Ghartey said the government is on the right path to transform Ghana, adding that the President has the right vision, and the Ministry is on the right path to making it happen.
He revealed that Transnet is a wonderful partner that the Ministry of Railway Development is earnestly looking forward to doing business with, looking at the experience they wield.
“They control a 30,000 kilometer of track. We are doing, currently, about 60 kilometers, and so they have what it takes to help us,” he told newsmen in South Africa.
The Minister revealed that there are a lot of opportunities for haulage by rail in Ghana, especially the Western Region.
“We haven’t even started and people are writing to us that they want to move gas and other petroleum products, by rail. We haven’t yet started but business opportunities are opening for railway,” he said.
“As I speak, we are implementing axle load requirement for trucks coming out of Western Region because they’re destroying the roads. The people in Awaso say that if they don’t have rail, their economic model will no longer work. And the point about it is that they have shown that they are prepared to take on the President’s challenge to add value,” he said.
Ghana Railway School
The Minister said the Ghana Railway School at Location, Essikado, which recently signed an MOU with the George Grant University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, will also benefit from this partnership. He said the school will partner the Transnet’s School of Rail, in Pretoria, to design curriculum, and also train personnel to feed the industry.
As such, twenty (20) personnel will be arranged by the Ghana Railway Company Limited to travel to South Africa in the coming weeks to be trained at the School of Rail.
“We have the Railway School, and they also have the School of Rail. So for me, with the discussions that I have had and all that, tells me that we are on the right path, and we will transform this nation,” he said.
Mr. Joe Ghartey revealed that the delay in activating the passenger service to Tarkwa from Takoradi, and Accra to Akosombo is due to the inadequate number of coaches available in the country.
He added, however, that with Transnet on board, passenger service will be reactivated by end of 2018.
“We don’t have enough locomotives and all that, to start an effective passenger service because it is the same train that we are using to haul manganese. And so we needed to have trains that will help us establish the passenger service not just from Takoradi to Tarkwa, but also from Accra to Nsawam”
“And as part of the negotiations, 22 coaches, with locomotives for the passenger service will be provided. They’re trying to bring us 100 wagons too. As we speak now, the Ghana Railway Company Limited does not have 100 wagons. So with the wagons they are bringing, it’s like we’re doubling our fleet. They’re also bringing us 6 locomotives for the freight side. So our interactions with them doubles all the prospects,” he stated.
He elaborated that Transnet International Holdings will lease these equipments to Ghana, to be run by the company’s local partner, for a number of years.
“The arrangement is for the South Africans to lease coaches to us, and it will be operated as simply, work and pay,” Hon Joe Ghartey told our reporter.
Mr. Joe Ghartey stated that the two parties are in a hurry to begin work in earnest, and so a team from South Africa will be in Ghana in the coming weeks to undertake inspection works for GRCL.
“Next week, a delegation from Transnet will be in Ghana to check the tracks after Tarkwa, to check for problems on the track and proffer solutions,” he said.
Mr. Joe Ghartey, who has shown strong determination to reward the trust H.E. Nana Addo has placed in him, by entrusting the revival of the railway into his hands, says this trip has shown that the Ministry of Railway Development and, by extension, the Nana Addo government is on the right path.