Business News of 2014-05-20

Gov’t puts Boankra Port, Eastern Railway Line on BOT

The government has merged the construction of the Boankra Inland Port and the rehabilitation of the Eastern Railway Line into one project to be executed under a build, operate and transfer (BOT) agreement.

A process leading to selection of a suitable investor has begun and is expected to be concluded before the end of the year.

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Transport, Mr Twumasi Ankra-Selby, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS on May 19 that the ministry was currently concluding the process leading to the selection of a transactional advisor for the two projects.

Once the transaction advisor is selected, Mr Ankrah-Selby said the projects would then be placed on tender for interested investors to bid.

“We are looking at selecting the transaction advisor by the first week of June. We are just waiting for a World Bank advise on the process and once that is given, we will proceed to do the selection,” the Chief Director of the ministry said.

The Boankra Inland Port is expected to be the country’s maiden dry port that would augment the activities of the twin-sea ports in Takoardi and Tema.

Its construction has, however, stalled, nearly a decade after it was conceived following government’s inability to secure the needed funds.

The same applies to the Eastern Railway Line, which has suffered due to the lack of routine maintenance over the years.

The Chief Director of the ministry was, however, confident the various challenges surrounding the two projects would be resolved soon for actual work to start.

Mr Ankrah-Selby had earlier told the paper that the government was going to apply part of the US$3 billion loan from the Chinese Development Bank into the two projects.

The successful completion of the port and rehabilitation of the railway line would help ease congestion at the Tema and Takoradi ports while reducing the cost of transportation currently incurred by shippers and mines in the Eastern and Western regions.

They would also serve as sources of revenue for government once the BOT goes through successfully.

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