The United Arab Emirates is leading railway development in the GCC as in 2019 Etihad Rail has signed the contracts on the development of the second phase consisting of the construction of a 605 km railway line from Ghuweifat to Saudi Arabia through Fujairah. In total, Etihad Rail has signed the contracts for the four packages valuated at over USD 4.6 billion, including the contract for freight facilities which will be constructed under the second phase of the railway development. After construction works will be completed, this phase will have railway connection to the first railway line (264 km) opened in 2016.
In February, the works for the railway line between Ghuweifat and Ruwais were launched as part of the Package A. The contract on the construction of the 139 km rail connection was signed in March 2019, with a consortium of China State Construction Engineering Corporation and South Korea’s SK Engineering and Construction. AED 1.5 billion (USD 409 million) is the value of the contract.
Currently, the contractors are working on the design documentation which is expected to be completed within this year and will be based on most stringent environmental issues.
“More than 600 km of new railway lines will be constructed under the phase two of railway system development, including the freight facilities. We are committed to develop our railway network as is the main driver towards environmental sustainability. In addition, under the signed contracts, we have requested the strictest environmental characteristics. We are building a national railway network in a very short time, and we are committed to deliver it and to fulfill the leadership vision,” said Shadi Malak, the CEO of Etihad Rail during the Middle East Rail held in Dubai, where Railway PRO is media partner.
To develop the railway system the United Arab Emirates will launch a new research and innovation strategy which will make an important contribution to the development of railway system by effectively supporting the modal shift. The authorities will soon unveil an updated version of the plan which will encourage the implementation of new projects and the companies’ activities in this field.
“Our country has a clear vision for railway transport and using innovation and adopting such strategies railway sector can be highly developed. Due to the extreme transport development and railways’ contribution to the economy, the UAE is keen on supporting the introduction of the new technology and to encourage the research & innovation in this sector. We are updating the R&I regulation to provide more opportunities to the interested companies. The government will adapt the law to accelerate the deployment of new technology and the R&I segment which will support a huge transport shift from road to railways,” said Ahmed Mohamed Sharif Al-khoori, the General Manager of UAE Federal Transport Authority.
Railway PRO February issue provides you more information on UAE railway development.