Etihad Rail (UAE) is expanding its fleet to allow it to transport containerised and bulk freight, such as petrochemicals, aggregates, raw steel, limestone, cement and construction material, industrial and household waste, aluminium, food commodities and general cargo, both domestically and internationally.
Etihad Rail was established in 2009 to develop and operate UAE’s national railway. It is tripling its fleet, having awarded a contract for the production, supply and commissioning of 842 new wagons. This will bring the total fleet size to more than 1,000 units. This expansion paves the way for rail transport becoming a central mode for freight movements in the UAE, following the completion of Stage Two of the network.
Stage One (Shah-Habshan-Ruwais) is already in service, with Etihad Rail DB as the operator. Stage Two will connect Guweifat with Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman. Once complete, Etihad Rail will connect Saudi Arabia and Oman via the UAE over 1,200km.
The contract has gone to CRRC, with the award being marked by an online ceremony. The virtual event was attended by His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of Etihad Rail, and Sun Yongcai, President of CRRC. The contract was signed by Shadi Malek, CEO of Etihad Rail, and Wang Hongwei, Vice President of CRRC Yangtze Group.
“Etihad Rail is building a sustainable national railway network designed to transform the UAE’s freight transport and logistics mode of operation by modernising the haulage map for the end users, customers as well as operators.
“The national railway network is designed to cater to the needs of customers and related industrial sectors, as well as existing multi-modal transport systems. Etihad Rail, the operator of a new, modern, scalable, and reliable mode of transport, will directly support the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership for economic growth and sustainable transportation.”
CRRC will manufacture the new wagons based on GCC requirements. These include modern braking, signalling and communications control and safety systems. They will also be designed to cope with the particular regional environmental conditions.
The tripling of Etihad Rail’s wagon fleet will increase the company’s annual transport capacity by a factor of eight, reaching up to 59 million tons per year.
The contract covers a variety of wagon types to deliver flexibility, schedule frequency and the scale needed by the market. By providing the necessary infrastructure for a modal shift to rail, the new line will ease congestion, since at the moment road is the only option for overland goods transports in the country.
All contracts for the construction, civil works, freight facilities centres and the operations and maintenance headquarters have been awarded for Stage Two. Ground has also been broken on the rail corridors.
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