ACCRA, Ghana’s Minister of Railway Development, Joe Ghartey, has disclosed that more than 1,400 kilometres of railway lines are to be built at a cost of about 7.8 billion US dollars to link three cities — Volta Lake City, Ashanti Rail City and Paga Rail City

The Eastern Line of 300 km would run from Accra to Kumasi, with a central spine line of 595 km linking Kumasi to Paga, another 58-km line linking Kumasi to Nyinahin and a 102-km line linking Tamale to Yendi, he said here Wednesday, adding that this would ensure convenient and comfortable links for commerce among the cities.

The Minister, who made the announcement at a market-sounding event for both local and foreign potential investors to deliberate on how best to expand the Boankra Inland Port and the Eastern Railway lines, added that the infrastructure development in the towns where the proposed railway lines would pass would be improved to facilitate the efficient transportation of passengers and goods.

There would also be improvements in internal trade and also with neighbouring countries, with reduction in road maintenance costs and fewer road accidents, which would also have a lower transport cost for both freight and passengers, due to the lower cost of transportation by rail, he said.

As for the Boankra Inland Port, which is strategically located near Kumasi and currently partially developed, he said access roads and utility connections would be developed and the port would received a boost from investors to increase the carriage of containers in the northern part of Ghana to ease pressure on Tema port, near here.

There are also plans to develop an Inland Container Depot, port administration, shippers and freight forwarders offices, warehouses and commercial buildings. The Inland Port would also require the development of Customs co-ordination protocols, Customs clearance procedures and controls.

Both the local and foreign investors brainstormed about the work at hand and how the proposed Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements would be operated under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) system.

Ghartey gave an assurance that Government is fully committed to the BOT arrangement and we are only going to contribute the right of way”. The two projects are expected to be completed by 2020.