Joe Ghartey, Minister for Railways Development has announced that the Ghana Railway company has begun an in-house training programmes for its staff for skills development at the Railway Training Institute and Workshop, located at Essikado in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.
“These two, (Training Institute and workshop) have receive major facelifts; the training institute has been upgraded with modern teaching and learning facilities to enhance capacity building and skills development for the Railway Sector,” he noted.
According to him, the Railway Location Workshop is being modernised and equipped to become a one-stop workshop to serve the railway, mining, petroleum and agricultural industries in Ghana; two out of the seven workshops were rehabilitated in 2018.
Mr. Ghartey announced this at a public lecture organised by the Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI), in partnership with the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, Germany and funded by the German International Cooperation through Sequa gGmbH of Germany.
The public lecture was on the theme ‘Railways revitalisation and sustainable development: Approach and opportunities’, and attracted a lot of staff from Railways, members of STCCI, the Port, and business community as well as small and medium enterprises.
On the Western Railways line (standard gauge), the Minister said a detailed topographical survey from Takoradi- Kumasi has been completed: “Geotechnical and geological surveys between Takoradi-Tarkwa have been completed, and alignment and final design have also been completed between Takoradi to Tarkwa as well.
He said detailed designs of infrastructure ‘bridges/culverts’ have been completed between Takoradi and Manso, and that the bill of quantities has also been finalised to Manso.
“Basic Engineering Parameters, gauge – standard gauge (1,435 mm), maximum design speed – 160km/hr and maximum axle load – 25 tonnes,” he added.
Mr. Ghartey pointed out that the contract with Amandi from Kojokrom to Manso is ongoing, and negotiations concluded with Messrs. China Railway Wuju Corporation for continuation of the new standard gauge line to Dunkwa.
“Discussion of work-plan is ongoing; funding arrangements are on-going with China Development Bank (CDB) for a US$1billion credit facility – out of which US$500million has been earmarked for the Western Line,” he said.
He challenged Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI) to invest along the rail lines for an industrial enclave.
“Investors and businesses with the Western Region can also take advantage of the opportunities that abound; as a Chamber, you can even initiate a process to develop an industrial park along the rail lines for business,” he emphasised.
He said the ministry is pursuing associated infrastructure development – such as housing, hospitality, free zone, industrial parks, container terminal and Inland Ports among others – to enhance its growth.
Chief Executive Officer of STCCI, Vincent Annan, in an interview with the B&FT on the minister’s proposal for the Chamber to consider investing along the rail lines, explained that: “We are going to set up a committee to look at appropriate locations along the rail lines which will be attractive to businesses”.
Also, the committee will look at other key partners such as the Railways, Ministry of Finance, Insurance Companies, the Banking sector, and other development partners.
“We are looking at an industrial hub that will contain industries which have use for goods transported by rail: such as cocoa processing plants, agric and palm businesses among others,” he said.
Mr. Annan also mentioned silos for food storage, and other facilities that can house construction, fabrication and maintenance companies: “We will also develop vocational and technical training”.