The Etihad Rail is slated to be one of the region’s most ambitious and eagerly awaited developments. Launched in 2009, its mission is to essentially manage the development, operation and construction of the UAE’s freight and passenger railway network.
The project is expected to provide a pathway to immense economic diversification plans in the petrochemicals and related industries. Its network will be at par with international standards, and is all set to redefine logistics in the region. Designed to be a safe and sustainable means of transport, it is also seen to foster inter-regional relations. Being the first of its kind in the region, the project has attracted a lot of interest locally and internationally, with everybody looking forward to the full-throttle launch.
The project will be completed in phases. Once complete, it will link the countries of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and the UAE. The western section of the rail network will link to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat and the eastern section of the network will connect to Oman via Al Ain. The interesting point is that the Etihad Rail will also run across the UAE, connecting several emirates. There are also plans of linking it to the Dubai Metro. Eventually, the network will also connect to the northern emirates, ports and industrial areas.
In March this year, a contract was signed with Europe’s DB Schenker Rail to operate and maintain the first phase of the network that will ship sulphur cargos at a distance of 264 km from the Shah gasfield to the coast. Around 7 million tons of sulphur is expected to be transported annually.
The first phase of the project is a stretch of 266km which will connect Al Ruwais to Shah and thereon to Habshan. Habshan is planned to be linked to Shah this year. The Shah-Habshan-Ruwais route is being planned in association with ADNOC.