Rail transport will link up UAE and go beyond

An efficient railway network within the UAE, as well as fast connections to Saudi Arabia in the West and Oman in the East, will reinforce its position as the logistics hub of the MENA region.

Etihad Rail, established in 2010, is developing a comprehensive rail network in the UAE. It recently signed a MoU with Jebel Ali Port (part of DP World and the largest container port between Rotterdam and Singapore), to build an intermodal rail terminal there that will enable the efficient transfer of containerized freight from ocean vessels onto the rail network and vice versa. The location will be adjacent to Jebel Ali Maritime Terminal 1 and close to Terminal 2.

Within five years, the plan is to extend the railway lines to the Northern Emirates and thereby complete the whole network, as shown in the enclosed map. As Etihad Chairman Nasser Al Sowaidi commented “This project will ultimately boost the economic growth of the UAE and add enormously to the efficiency of the country’s supply chain.”

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UAE’s regional rail network development will cost almost $10.9 billion and eventually link Saudi Arabia with Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman.

Phase One will see a 266 kilometer route that links Shah, Habshan and Ruwais in the UAE’s western region. It is due for completion by the end of 2013. By 2016, Phase Two will be completed, connecting Abu Dhabi to Dubai and also incorporating the Jebel Ali, Mussaffah and Khalifa Ports. Phase Three will extend the rail lines to the Northern Emirates in 2017.

UAE’s regional rail network development will cost almost $10.9 billion and eventually link Saudi Arabia with Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman.

The whole network will comprise 1200 kilometers and provide significant advantages in cost and time reductions for freight transport – not to mention benefits for passengers. Planners expect to have a capacity to handle the transfer of 5 million TEUs annually by 2030.

Another interesting point concerns the economies of scale. One Etihad train will be able to carry up to 260 TEUs, which would require at least 130 trucks if transported by road.