One of the coaches being offloaded from a ship at the Tema Port
One of the coaches being offloaded from a ship at the Tema Port

Tema-Mpakadan train arrives

A modern train meant to operate on the Tema-Mpakadan railway line has arrived in the country.


One of the two Polish-built trains arrived at the Tema Port last Thursday in separate knockdown components and is being assembled at a railhead (a train yard) near the Tema port.

It will take four weeks to complete the assembling work which will be followed by test runs. The two trains, procured at $4.2 million, will run commercial passenger service on the 97-kilometre (km) standard gauge Tema-Mpakadan railway line, starting in June this year.

The trains were imported specifically for the standard gauge line which connects seven stations, with the second expected in the country shortly after June this year. The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA), Yaw Owusu, who has led the efforts to build the line and acquire the trains, told the Daily Graphic on Monday that once the trains started operating on the line, it would signal the beginning of the replacement of outdated narrow gauge rail lines in the country.

“We should give ourselves about a month and the trains and line will be commissioned by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in June,” he said. 

Economic development

Mr Owusu said the country could ride on the back of an effective rail transport system to boost economic growth although about 75 per cent of the proposed 4,000km of rail network in the national master plan was yet to be constructed.

“It is incumbent to remind ourselves that we still have some catching up to do in our unrelenting quest to boost transportation infrastructure,” he said. He said there was enough evidence that when properly tolled, the rain lines could pay for the huge investments needed to construct them, as Ghana remained a transit route in the sub region.

Mr Owusu said aside from connecting the major cities of Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale; the use of Ghana as the --route for transporting goods from landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali to the ports of Tema and Takoradi, and also from the ports to the landlocked countries makes a strong case for prioritising railway development.

Beyond that, he said the presence of major mineral deposits of manganese, bauxite, and iron ore along the route of the existing railway’s network; the potential to attract other bulk cargo such as cocoa, cement, mining equipment, and petroleum products from industrial enclaves in Tema to the eastern and northern parts of the country onto the rail network would also make a case for the investment in the sector.

Mr Owusu stated that the expansion of the ports of Tema and Takoradi; the proposed creation of inland rail terminals; the development of new industrial estates; the development of new settlements and the complete transformation of the economy, based on the backbone of a nationwide robust and modern railways network was a compelling case for the focus on the railway sector. 

Cargo freight

An Independent Marine Logistics Consultant, Yakubu Issifu Tanko, was, however, of the view that the development of the rail line could be particularly beneficial if the government focused on freight or cargo services.

He explained that with the cost of the 97km railway line from Tema to Mpakadan costing $500 million, additional expenditure for Mpakadan port, river barges and handling equipment at the port at about $5 million for the government and about $120 million for private investors, cargo freight alone, at an estimated GH¢50 per tonne, could bring in GH¢5 million each month assuming that 100,000 tons of cargo was moved by rail. 

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