By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a significant development for Sierra Leone’s transportation sector, Arise IIP has announced the imminent arrival of seven passenger railcars, imported from Japan. According to a correspondence dated September 22, 2023, from Samuel Komba Kambo, General Manager of Interface at Arise IIP, to Amb. Alhaji Fanday Turay, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, the railcars are expected to dock at Freetown Port on October 26, 2023.
The correspondence, bearing the reference number ARISESL/0923/02 titled “Arrival of Passenger Trains,” underscores the progress made under the Railway and Port Lease Agreement signed between the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) and Arise IIP on January 17, 2023. This agreement grants Arise IIP the responsibility to operate and maintain the rail and port infrastructure, including the operation of a passenger rail service.
In the letter, General Manager Samuel Komba Kambo stated, “Arise IIP has successfully procured and shipped seven passenger railcars and their associated critical spares from Japan, with an anticipated arrival at Freetown Port on October 26, 2023.” He further explained that Arise IIP is diligently preparing for the reception of these railcars, including the mobilization of necessary equipment to safely unload, transport, and park them along the rail infrastructure.
One notable aspect mentioned in the letter is the current control of the rail infrastructure by Kingho, prompting Arise IIP to seek permission from the government to park the railcars along the rail corridor until the commencement of passenger rail services. The letter also includes detailed information, such as a packing list of the railcars with their respective weights and dimensions, as well as a list of critical spares.
General Manager Samuel Komba Kambo concluded the letter by expressing Arise IIP’s intention to submit duty-free entry forms for the shipment in the coming week, in accordance with the provisions of the agreement. The duty-free waiver is a key element in facilitating the successful implementation of the passenger rail service.
The letter has been copied to several high-ranking officials and ministries, including the Honourable Chief Minister, the Honourable Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, the Honourable Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Secretary to the President, and the Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA).
As Sierra Leone eagerly awaits the arrival of these passenger railcars, this development marks a significant step forward in enhancing the country’s transportation infrastructure and fostering economic growth. The successful implementation of the passenger rail service is poised to benefit both local commuters and the broader national economy. Stay tuned for further updates on this exciting development.
(C) The Calabash Newspaper