South African team to assess Ghana's rail equipment

BY: Chris Nunoo

A technical team from Transnet International Holdings, a South Africa-based railways and logistics organisation, is to be deployed to Ghana by June 7, this year to carry out condition assessment of the equipment of the Ghana Railways Company Limited (GRCL) in the Western Region.

The visit of the Transnet technical team, according to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Transnet International Holdings, Mr Petrus Fusi, was for the team to familiarise itself with the railway infrastructure within the western enclave and work with their Ghanaian counterparts to determine and confirm the type of fleet that would be required on that network.

At a meeting between the South African Minister in charge of Public Enterprises and Ghana’s Minister of Railways Development, Mr Joe Ghartey, at the port of Cape Town in South Africa last Thursday, Mr Fusi; said: “I will be deploying a team to do a condition assessment of the infrastructure as early as next two weeks to work with the service design people so that we have a full understanding of the GRCL’s requirement.”

In attendance were the acting Managing Director of the GRCL, Mr John Essel; the Director (R/A) of the Ghana Railway Development Authority, Mr Lord Laud Quansah; the Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Railways Development, Ms Akosua Poku, and some high-profile executives of Transnet.

Memorandum of Understanding

Subsequently, the South African Minister in charge of Public Enterprises, Mr Pravin Gordhan, has directed the leadership of Transnet to “elevate its partnership with the GRCL to the political level so that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would not only be between the two organisations but also the government of Ghana and the South African government”.

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That, he explained, was to lay bare the terms of agreement, timelines and other details in relation to the redevelopment of the rail infrastructure of Ghana.

“We need a broad framework that laid the basis for cooperation and then we could have streams of work whether its training, technical assistance or loan hiring,” Mr Gordhan indicated.

South African Minister

“Our minister has given us two weeks and we hope within that two weeks, the term sheets would have been concluded and then the six locomotives and wagons that has been requested would immediately get into workshop and the whole fleet  shipped to Ghana.

“We will be working with our colleagues in GRCL to that effect and we hope to ensure that we deliver by September so that the first locomotive would be running in Ghana,” he stated. Mr Ghartey, for his part, expressed disappointment that Ghana’s railway had been deserted over the years, resulting in a negative impact on the country’s economy.

He said the ministry intended to rehabilitate part of the eastern and western rail lines, for which it was considering the delivery of about 110 wagons and six locomotives on the least basis.

“If we hopefully enter into an agreement of cooperation and work together as joint ventureship or partnership, it becomes the basis of that continued arrangement. We are also looking at a passenger service where we could have 22 coaches, 10 coaches each and one spare with a power van and also a kitchen and two locomotives,” he added.

“We looked at the draft MoU and it indicated clearly the basis of our future cooperation and we think and hope that this is the beginning of our long-lasting relationship with South Africa where we can develop together and you could play an important role in the redevelopment of the railway sector in Ghana.” he added.

Local partners

The Executive Director of Adasa Keteke Company Limited, Mr Kojo Quainoo, said Transnet, through its local partner, Adasa Keteke, was entering into a long-term partnership with the GRCL to revive, operate and manage the railway industry in Ghana.

He said Adasa Keteke had decided to invest heavily and focus on infrastructural projects as a way of helping Ghana grow and also deepen the vision of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s “Ghana beyond aid” agenda.