The Idea to initiate a railway from Tema ports to Akosombo (now Mpakadan) to create a multi-modal transportation network connecting the port of Tema and the northern parts of the country and beyond, was birthed by President John Agyekum Kufuor 17 years ago in July 2007. 

The then-proposed Tema Akosombo (now Mpakadan) Railway Line forms part of a multimodal transport system from the Tema Port to Buipe via Akosombo to serve the Northern part of Ghana and the landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. It consists of a railway line between Tema and Akosombo to join the Volta Lake transport system between Akosombo and Buipe. 

This corridor experiences major congestion because the transport of domestic and transit freight from Tema to the Northern parts of Ghana is via roads.

To address this trade barrier, the Kufuor government in June 2007 commissioned a study which was undertaken by Dar Al Handasah Consultants with funding from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA for a feasibility study for a Multi-Modal Transport link between Tema and Buipe via Akosombo.

The idea was kept alive by the Mills and the Mahama regimes. 

The Tema-Akosombo Railway Line will subsequently be incorporated in the Railway Master Plan of 2013 which is to guide the systematic development of the railway network across the country

At its 14th Sitting of the Third Meeting held on Monday, 31st October 2016, the parliament of Ghana approved by resolution the credit facility between the Republic of Ghana represented by the Ministry of Finance and Exim Bank of India as well as the Commercial Contract Agreement between Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) and AFCONS Infrastructure Limited of India, in the sum of US$398,330,000.00 to design and construct an 84.832km multi-modal railway line including railway stations between Tema and Akosombo. The contract was signed on 18th November 2016 between the Ghana Railway Development Authority and Messrs AFCONS Infrastructure Limited.

The Akufo-Addo government in April 2017 also picked up the project and started construction. The government decided to an extension of the lines by a further 12.793km from the original termination location of Akosombo to Mpakadan and other construction additions. 

This was occasioned by concerns raised by the Volta Lake Transport Company Limited that the railway tunnel was going to be 60 meters away from the Akosombo Dam and the possibility was high that this tunnel could gradually weaken the Dam due to vibration of the moving trains. In addition, the close proximity to the dam could also compromise security in the area. 

A study was subsequently commissioned in March 2017 by the Ministry to investigate the possible effects of the proposed drilling of the railway tunnel on the Dam and propose an alternative termination point for the railway to link the Volta Lake. The report of the investigations, which was conducted by Messrs TEAM proposed diversion (just before Km77+000 of the original route), the original route measures 8.169 km, while the alternative route measures 8.480 km.

Another investigation was occasioned by the Contractor, Messrs AFCONS Infrastructure Limited in February 2018, to conduct a feasibility study of the alternative routes and submit a report to the Ghana Railway Development Authority. Upon submission of the Report by the Contractor, proposing three alternative routes/alignments, the Ghana Railway Development Authority approved the alignment from km68+000 (South Senchi), further running towards the Volta River and crossing the Volta River and terminating at Km97+625 (Mpakadan).

This is why the termination point moved by some 12.793Km from Akosombo to Mpakadan. 

In the report by the contractor, they indicated that “the relocation of the terminal at Mpakadan, which has a comparatively larger land area, there is an opportunity to develop the rail line Tema to Mpakadan project to include; the development of a new port at Makadan, the development of a new Volta Lake City in its environs, the creation and development of a free zone industrial enclave, the development of the tourism potential of the area”.

This project has travel has 17 years on the rail and is one that symbolizes and carries the soul of chapter 35 clause 7 of the 1992 constitution which reads, “As far as practicable, a government shall continue and execute projects and programmes commenced by the previous Governments”

Like the N1 Highway and Bui Dam, it is my fervent prayer that successive governments take this sound directive by the constitution and compete with projects started by past regimes. It reduces wastage of public funds, reduces our infrastructure deficit, accelerates our development, and betters the life of the ordinary Ghanaian.

Eugene Osei-Tutu is a media practitioner currently working with the Multimedia Group Limited’s LUV FM – Kumasi as Producer for Talk-related Programmes


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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.