Efficient ports, railways are the economic lifeline of Africa, states AECOM

1 October 2019
Efficient ports and railway linkages are the economic lifeline of Africa. While currently most railway lines in Africa link mines to sea ports for export of commodities, inter- and intra-African traffic will become more important. This is the view of Darrin Green, Civil Infrastructure End Market Lead at AECOM, a sponsor of African Ports and Rail Evolution 2019 from 15 to 16 October at the Durban International Convention Centre.
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PreviewAECOM has been awarded Phase 2 of the Tema Port expansion project1.3 MBDownload
PreviewAECOM is responsible for the private siding and yard electrification at the Gibela manufacturing facility2.21 MBDownload
PreviewAECOM was involved with the route determination for the Gautrain extensions4.03 MBDownload
PreviewDarrin Green, Civil Infrastructure End Market Lead at AECOM, which includes ports and rail97.52 KBDownload
PreviewThe Tema Port expansion is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Africa at present1.44 MBDownload

International experience has proven that the level of development of any city or country relates directly to the extent and efficiency of its railway infrastructure and services. “It should be emphasised that good infrastructure needs to be supported by good operations and maintenance,” Green adds. Similarly, port infrastructure or access thereto is essential for the economic growth and prosperity of any country. The economic multiplier of efficient logistics chains, including ports and rail, is self-evident.

“As transport and logistics drive our economy, the rail and port sector is very important to us. AECOM has the expertise, experience, and knowledge to be a key contributor to the improvement of rail and ports by means of focused future investment. As an important roleplayer, we are willing to partner with both the public and private sector to achieve the required accelerated economic growth,” Green elaborates.

While there is a plethora of opportunities in rail and port development on the continent, the major challenges are a lack of funding, planning, and prioritisation by governments. As projects may be developed over more than a decade, changes in government, combined with a lack of consistent government policy, often hinder implementation. “We need to cooperate to convince African leadership to pave the way for private-sector investment by means of comprehensive government support, clear consistent policies, and co-funding,” Green argues.

Engineering News-Record (ENR) has ranked AECOM as the world’s number one rail engineering company, while its ports and maritime sector is ranked third globally. It has more than 6 000 railway engineers globally, and provides railway planning and design services on all continents. It prides itself on being a one-stop shop, providing integrated services, including architecture, master planning, feasibility studies, conceptual and detailed design, and construction management.

It has assisted railway companies with railway upgrade and maintenance projects. It supports all services, from light rail transit and monorail to rapid and high-speed rail, and is even the main technical partner for the Hyperloop. This is a proposed mode of passenger and/or freight transportation, first used to describe an open-source vacuum tube train design released by a joint team from Tesla and SpaceX.

Current rail-related projects for AECOM in Africa include the Park Station upgrade in Johannesburg for Prasa, the Transnet Tippler 3 implementation in Saldanha Bay, route determination for the planned Gautrain extensions, the Tambo Springs inter-modal container terminal in Southern Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, and the Gibela private siding and yard electrification project.

In terms of ports, AECOM is involved with one of the biggest projects of its kind in Africa at present, namely the Tema Port expansion project in Ghana for Meridian Port Services (MPS). Green reports that this flagship project is progressing very well, being both on schedule and within budget. The port successfully achieved operational ‘go live’ of the first two berths on 30 June, while the first commercial vessel docked successfully on 3 July. Phase 2 of the project is currently under construction, with the third berth with all works due to be completed by December 2020.

Integrated infrastructure delivery company AECOM has a long-standing association as a sponsor of the eight-year-old African Ports and Rail Evolution event. “We consider it relevant to the markets we serve, and a good opportunity to network with our clients,” Green highlights, whose portfolio includes ports and marine and rail.

For more information about African Ports and Rail Evolution 2019, visit https://www.transportevolution.com/.


Notes to the editor

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