The Thelo DB consortium (consisting of Thelo DB and Transtech Consult Limited) has signed a US$3.2billion Rail Management Agreement with the Government of Ghana through the Ghana Railway Company Limited to develop and operationalise the Western Railway Line.
The project includes Planning (all project preparation-related activities, such as feasibility studies, demand analysis, preliminary and detailed design, and procurement consulting); Implementation (systems engineering design, construction supervision, design review, audit systems engineering, testing and commissioning of rolling stock and infrastructure); and Operations and Maintenance Management (early train operator, consulting services in terms of infrastructure operations, rolling stock operations, infrastructure and rolling stock maintenance).
When completed, the project – which includes the associated infrastructure, training and operations and maintenance management – will transform Ghana’s existing rail network into a modern, robust and integrated railway system running from the Port of Takoradi to Huni Valley to Obuasi, including the branch line from Dunkwa to Awaso, to Nyinahin and to Eduadin.
The investment for the Ghana Western Railway Line Project will ensure that the rail infrastructure is upgraded and that there is interoperability of railway systems, new standardised rolling stock, required maintenance facilities, a spare parts regime and operational integration into other transport infrastructure and systems.
John-Peter Amewu, Minister of Railway Development, Ghana, commented: “Currently, the transportation of freight, including minerals and other bulk commodities along the Western Corridor is predominantly by means of the road network due to the poor state of the railways.
“The Western Railway Line has a very huge potential in terms of the haulage of both liquid and bulk cargo. For instance, current projected annual haulage on the Western Rail Line for manganese and bauxite is about 7 million and 15 million metric tonnes respectively.
“An additional 5 million metric tonnes of bauxite is estimated to be mined and transported annually from the new bauxite deposit at Nyinahin using the railway. The Bulk Oil Storage and Company Limited has also projected to haul over 1.5 billion litres of oil products along the corridor.
“Other commodities that are transported along the Western Corridor include Cocoa, Timber, Cement, among others, which also have huge haulage potential based on their respective projected volumes. Rail transport is, therefore, critical to the success and achievement of all these traffic projections since it provides a cheaper and more efficient means of transporting such commodities.”
The fully integrated development model is an innovative one for the Africa railway sector, especially because the Western Rail Line Project will be funded on a ring-fenced project finance basis.
This agreement is further testament to the importance that President Akufo-Addo’s government places on the railway sector.
Ronnie Ntuli, Chairman of Thelo DB, said: “The intention of this project is to develop, implement and operationalise the Western Railway Line as a fully integrated railway system to enable efficient mobility of freight and passengers. This, will in turn, catalyse investment, infrastructure development, promote trade, skills development and job creation, thereby generating broader economic growth in Ghana, and hopefully, the broader West Africa region”.
Mr. Ntuli praised the government for identifying the railway sector, and this project in particular, as a catalyst for development, and the role of Ministry of Railway Development and the Ghana Railway Company, in operationalising the vision to develop and modernise Ghana’s hard and soft railway infrastructure systems.
About Thelo DB
Thelo DB is an African railway company incorporated between Thelo – an African industrial group – and DB E&C, a subsidiary of Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB), which is one of the world’s leading fully integrated railway conglomerates. Thelo DB has the skills, capacity, experience, and expertise to develop, implement and support complex railway projects, and brings global experience and capacity to the African railway market. The company supports the development of new railway corridors, the enhancement of operational efficiencies in existing networks and is able to support railway sector reform.
Thelo DB provides unique solutions to current and prospective railway infrastructure projects to nation, states, regions, developers, financiers, and existing operators within the sub-Saharan region of Africa. The group places particular emphasis on Transportation and Logistics and, more specifically, railway projects. Thelo DB’s long-term vision is to deliver rail for freight and passengers via a holistic, fit-for-purpose model for the continent. The company aims to advance economic development of the continent by turning its fully integrated model into key outcomes.