Thirty South African railway engineers are expected in the country next month to supervise rehabilitation works on the country's more than 900-kilometre railway line.
The South African engineers will be supported by a local workforce of 700 and a team of five Ghanaian engineers who will leave Ghana tomorrow for a three-week training with Transnet International Holding, the South African rail and logistics company engaged by the government to revive the country's railway sector.
The rehabilitation works are expected to be completed by December this year.
Officials of the Ministry of Railway Development, the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) and Adasa Keteke Company Limited, the local partners of Transnet, are in South Africa to, among other things, discuss Ghana' technical requirement.
The Programme Director of Transnet, Mr Wilson Mogoba, said: "The partnership should see the western line from Takoradi to Kumasi and the Eastern line being returned to service. It will bring on board investments, rolling stock, operations and skills development to ensure that the rail network in Ghana begins to function and serve the economy of Ghana. "
In June this year, officials of Transnet were in Ghana to assess the railway network to ascertain the scope of work to be undertaken.
Soon, Transnet, the GRCL and Adasa Keteke will sign an agreement that will give effect to the relationship.
“Right now, we are working out the details of the different projects that we will undertake. This is to get the projects defined and to develop a clear programme of action that will allow us to settle on specifics. We are busily looking at what the projects are and the different partners, while the team from the GRCL is looking at the volume stock. We are also talking to investors for investment requirements," Mr Mogoba said.
On training, he said the partnership would provide extensive training for the GRCL staff to make them take over operations of the lines.
"One of our commitments to this programme is to ensure that we do extensive training and skills development. As part of the partnership, we will make sure that we execute a number of programmes that are geared towards developing Ghanaian skills in different aspects of rail operations and maintenance,” he said.
The Chief Executive of Adasa Keteke, Mr Kojo Quainoo, for his part, said Transnet was chosen because of its track record of profitability and efficiency.
In 2018, the company's net profit increased to R4.9 billion from R2.8 billion in 2017, a 75 per cent improvement.
Transnet operates 30,000 of South Africa's railway network and currently has tentacles in other African countries, including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Zambia and Botswana.
Mr Quainoo said as soon as work on the Accra-Nsawam line was completed, the first phase of the Western line would start, beginning from Takoradi to Nsuta, Tarkwa to Awaso in the second, with the final phase being Dunkwa to Kumasi.
Pressed for financial details and operational timelines, he said they were issues under discussion.