Mr Joe Ghartey, the Minister of Railways Development, has launched a Monthly Railway Dialogue to interact with stakeholders on the way forward of the railway transport system.
He said the Dialogue was to ensure that stakeholders actively participated in the development process of the sector.
The Minister said the railway sector, when prioritized, could generate enough revenue for the state and contribute to national development.
He said an amount of $440 million had, therefore, been invested into the 99-kilometre Tema-Mpakadan railway project, which would generate more than triple the amount of its cost as revenue for the state.
Professor Cornelius Nuworsoo of the Transportation Planning at California Polytechnic, United States of America, who spoke on; “The Rail Sector as a Catalyst for Growth: the Role of Station Area Development and Other Associated Infrastructure,” said rail transport enhanced productivity and efficiency, facilitated human activity, and promoted growth and development.
He said a railway network was one of the most versatile and cheapest means of transportation in terms of goods carriage, adding that it was 10 times cheaper than transporting goods with truck.
“It is 2.5 times cheaper than on-water transport system and 100 times cheaper than transportation by air,” he said.
Prof. Nuworsoo said research had shown that roads accounted for 95 per cent of passenger traffic in Ghana and the best option was the rail system because it was more economical, especially when transporting bulky and heavy goods.
Developing a successful railway sector would improve the intermodal connections system of transporting goods conveniently between regions and local areas and enhance inter-city or passenger transport.
Another benefit, Prof Nuworsu said, was the “Physical Appearance,” which allowed the creation of vibrant activities and integration of lands around rail stations into uses such as residential developments, retail outlets, and cultural activity.
“A developed rail station area will improve economic activities to generate revenue for the state and investing in it could significantly reduce the negative environmental impacts both locally and beyond.”