The Tema-Mpakadan railway line aims to improve connectivity between Port Tema and the northern parts of Ghana. Credit: Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority.
A 300m-long railway bridge is being built over the Volta River as part of the project. Credit: Ghana Shippers’ Authority.
AFCONS Infrastructure is in charge of the Tema-Mpakadan railway project's construction. Credit: Ghana Shippers’ Authority.

The Tema-Mpakadan rail project involves the construction of a 97.6km-long standard gauge railway line between Tema and Mpakadan in Ghana.

The project is part of the Government of Ghana’s strategy to develop the country’s railway industry to improve its socioeconomic condition. Ghana aims to build more than 4,500km of railway track across the country.

The Tema-Mpakadan project is being built as part of a multi-modal transportation network designed to improve connectivity between Tema Port and the country’s northern regions. It is a component of the first phase of the 1,000km Ghana-Burkina Faso Railway Interconnectivity Project, which will build a railway line between the Port of Tema in Ghana and Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso.

Construction of the project began in July 2018 and is expected to be completed by December 2022. It was previously planned to be completed in 2021, but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tema-Mpakadan railway project background

The Tema-Mpakadan railway project, formerly known as the Tema-Akosombo rail project, was proposed as a ‘port-to-port project’ in 2007.

In 2007, a feasibility study for a multi-modal transit system between Tema and Buipe via Akosombo was commissioned. The Parliament of Ghana approved the Tema-Akosombo railway project in November 2016.

The project agreement was reviewed after the new government under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo came to power in January 2017. The review was ordered due to the potential impact on the Akosombo dam caused by drilling a tunnel through rock to the Akosombo Port.

Other factors that prompted the review included security concerns and a lack of adequate economic activity near the train terminal at the Akosombo port.

The project scope was changed following the review and the route length was increased from 84.83km to 97.6km. The revised scope included the construction of a rail bridge over the Volta River.

Construction details of the railway project

The railway line will feature six passenger stations and a freight terminal near the Tema Port. The railway terminal is intended to enable easy cargo transportation to and from Ghana’s north and beyond to ports in Tema.

The project also includes a 300m-long railway bridge connecting Senchi and Old Akrade across the Volta River.

Financing for the project

The railway project is being funded by the Export-Import Bank of India (India Exim Bank), an export finance institution owned by the Government of India. The India-based Exim Bank has pledged $447m in funding to support the project’s design and construction. It is providing the funding in the form of a buyer’s credit under a National Export Insurance Account (NEIA).

The Parliament of Ghana has approved a $230m budget for the purchase of rolling stock for the project.

Contractors involved in the project

Indian construction and engineering company AFCONS Infrastructure was awarded the contract for the construction of the Tema-Mpakadan railway project in November 2016.

Tema-Mpakadan railway project benefits

The Tema-Mpakadan railway project will provide safe, quick, and cost-efficient transportation of goods to Ghanaian shippers.

The new line is expected to provide a reliable transportation mode for transit shippers and shippers in the northern portion of the country. It will also serve the landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali.

The project is expected to relieve traffic congestion by reducing cargo movement on roadways, as well as alleviate other axle load-related problems associated with the transportation of cargo to landlocked countries.