Repeated Rail Theft Threatens Liberia’s Government and People, Hinders Multi-User Arrangement Efforts
Two weeks ago, ArcelorMittal Liberi reported yet another derailment resulting from a sabotage a theft of rail fasteners around the Liberian Agriculture Company Areas in Wee-Statutory District, Grand Bassa County.
Although there were no injuries or deaths recorded for the derailment of the locomotive which was on its way from Yekepa to Buchanan, the persistent issue of rail theft along the vital Buchanan to Yekepa railway route poses a severe and direct threat to both the Government of Liberia and its people.
The Government of Liberia owns this essential transport infrastructure, and the ramifications of these thefts ripple through the entire nation, negatively impacting its efforts to implement a multi-user arrangement for the rail system, aimed at generating additional income and addressing socio-economic challenges across Liberia.
The Railway Link Between Buchanan and Yekepa, as a national asset, is pivotal to Liberia’s economic and social development. It serves as a lifeline for the transportation of ore from which the government gets revenues.
The rail is essential as well be it provides the opportunity for transportation of essential goods, facilitates trade, and enhances connectivity between regions. Furthermore, it plays a vital role in the Government’s vision to promote inclusivity and address socio-economic disparities by allowing multiple users to leverage this resource for mutual benefit.
However, the unrelenting theft of rail infrastructure and materials not only cripples the railway’s operational integrity but also imposes significant financial burdens on ArcelorMittal the operator of the rail given that for each time a theft occurs, the company spends thousands of dollars for repairs, while the movement of ore and logistics between Buchanan and Yekepa comes to a complete end thereby denying to government essential revenue.
The cost of replacing stolen materials, repairing damaged sections, and ensuring the railway’s security diverts precious resources that could be better allocated to crucial public services, such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure development.
Moreover, the continuous disruption caused by rail theft jeopardizes the Government’s plans for the multi-user arrangement. This initiative is designed to attract investments, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth along the rail corridor.
The revenue generated from this venture would be instrumental in addressing pressing social issues, including poverty alleviation and access to quality education and healthcare for Liberians.
The Government of Liberia has t at this point demonstrated commitment to ensuring the security and sustainability of this railway corridor.
We call upon all stakeholders, including local communities, businesses, and law enforcement agencies, to join hands in protecting this vital national asset.
Only through collaborative efforts can we preserve the Buchanan to Yekepa railway’s integrity, realize the potential of the multi-user arrangement, and ultimately improve the lives of all Liberians.
The Government and people of Liberia must stand together in the face of these challenges, determined to secure our shared future and promote the well-being of every citizen through economic empowerment and job security.