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Business News of Thursday, 31 May 2018

Source: Graphic.com.gh

15 companies shortlisted for eastern rail line, Boankra projects

Fifteen construction companies, including three from Ghana, have been shortlisted for the redevelopment of the eastern rail line and the development of the Boankra Inland Port project.

The Ghanaian companies are Medaase Consultium, Afum Quality Limited Itala Group and Asusa Ghana Limited.

The foreign companies include Rail Net International, Frontline Capital Advisers Sfeco Group, Stock Brick Company Limited and Masz Railway Group Limited.

The rest are China Gezhouva Group Limited, TFMC Rail Mark, China Harbor Engineering Limited, African Rail/West African Railway and China Road and Braid Cooperation.

Reconstruction

The Minister of Railways Development, Mr Joe Ghartey, who announced this at a meeting with representatives of the companies in Accra last Tuesday, said the reconstruction of the eastern rail line, which is about 330 km, with a gauge of 1,067 mm, would link Accra to Kumasi with a branch rail line connecting from Achimota to the Tema Port.

Painting a despicable picture of the current state of the rail line, the minister said, “The existing eastern rail line was built in 1923 with narrow gauge standards and was designed for an axle load limit of 13 tonnes but the railway line currently is virtually non-operational and the rail tracks are in a deplorable state.”

He added : “The tracks are worn out, the wooden slabs are rotten and beyond Nsawam, the tracks have mostly been removed or stolen.”

Mr Ghartey added that some sections of the railway line had been rendered unusable.

“In these affected areas, there must be a complete overhaul of the rail line formation in order to give it the requisite capacity to hold new tracks and the expected axle load, if the existing alignment is to be maintained,” he explained.

The minister expressed concern about encroachment and resettlement activities on the right of way and said human resettlement and commercial activities along the rail line posed a major threat to the safety and efficient running of a rail operation.

“Several permanent and temporary structures have developed within the right of way which may present social challenges to the development of the line in Tema, Achimota, Amasaman, Koforidua and other areas,” Mr Ghartey said.

Boankra Inland Port

On the Boankra Inland Port, Mr Ghartey said the project was initiated in 1990 by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to create an inland extension to the Tema Port.

“Currently, the Boankra Inland Port has been partially developed with an administration block, access roads and utility connections and there are plans for further development of the Inland Container Depot (ICD), shippers and freight forwarders offices, warehouses and commercial buildings,” he said.

Bidding process

Explaining the bidding process, Mr Ghartey said the exercise started with the procurement stage, during which the government did its own feasibility study by offering its projects to the investors while they presented their bidding documents to be assessed.

He said the presentation of the bidding documents, which was intended to last for 15 days, had been extended for another 15 days as requested by the bidders, for an additional time to present documents of their bankers and their associates.

For the second stage, he said, the bidders would be shortlisted and made to justify how their companies were being funded.

Mr Ghartey said the final stage would involve the request for proposals and for the selected bidders to present their proposals to the board to qualify them for negotiation with the government.