H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, and Chairman of Etihad Rail, has launched the construction works of Package A of Stage Two of the pan-Emirates railway network, which is being developed by Etihad Rail, in the presence of members of the company’s Board of Directors. Package A will run for 139 km from Ghuweifat on the UAE border with Saudi Arabia to Ruwais, where it connects with Stage One of the network.

Speaking on the occasion, H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed said: “As 2020, the year of preparing for the next 50 years, begins, we launch the construction works for this pivotal national project that will generate a paradigm shift in the country’s transport sector, consolidating the UAE’s position at both regional and global levels.”

His Highness continued, “With this launch, we are witnessing a remarkable day for Etihad Rail as we witness the transition from planning and design to actual implementation of the project on the ground, following in the footsteps of our founding fathers as we implement one of the nation’s most strategic projects, one that contributes to the economic development of the country by providing a safe, reliable and integrated alternative mode of transport.”

H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the teams working on the project, thanking them for their efforts to bring this national project to fruition, saying that it is regarded as one of the UAE’s biggest and most beneficial infrastructure projects. His Highness gave directions for the project to be completed according to the approved plans and to the highest international standards, due to its strategic importance in contributing to the UAE’s pioneering development journey over the next 50 years.

H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed received a detailed presentation on the construction works to be carried out on Package A, which runs for 139 kilometres from Ghuweifat to Ruwais and will utilise 700,000 cubic metres of ballast, involve 30,000,000 tons of earthwork and the installation of over 450,000 concrete sleepers provided by Etihad Rail’s own manufacturing plant, which produces up to 45,000 railway sleepers each month.

After the launch, H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed attended the signing of a contract between Etihad Rail and a joint venture of Larson and Toubro Limited and Power China International, to construct freight facilities for the railway network at a total cost of AED 1.87 billion. Under the terms of the contract, the two companies will be jointly responsible for the surveying, design, construction, equipment installation, testing and pre-commissioning of each facility.

The agreement signing was attended by S.N. Subrahmanyan, Managing Director of Larson and Toubro Limited, and Mr. Wu Wenhao, President of Power China International. The contract was signed by Shadi Malak, Etihad Rail CEO, Anupam Kumar from Larson & Toubro Limited, and Hong Lee from Power China International.

H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed also commented that the signing of the freight facilities contract promotes the UAE’s position as a global logistics hub and an active and key player in the field of logistics. H.H. explained that the network connects the main ports to principal centres of population and industry of the UAE, adding that the freight facilities are an important service asset, a driving force for the network operations, increasing the organisation’s capabilities and efficiency in freight handling and distribution.

Etihad Rail is building a series of freight facilities in Ruwais, Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD), Khalifa Port, Dubai Industrial City (DIC), Jebel Ali Port, Al Ghayl and Siji, Fujairah Port and Khorfakkan Port capable of undertaking all loading and unloading operations, in addition to providing container storage and maintenance.

The planned port facilities will provide a full service to Etihad Rail customers, including direct access to trains on the dock, easing container movements between ships and trains. These facilities, will become the UAE’s main rail transit system for local, regional and international distribution and logistics, with bonded storage and customs on-site.

Meanwhile, the other facilities centres will serve several sectors, including building materials, as they will contribute to transporting more than 30 million tons of various types of raw materials from their sources in the north of the country to the main markets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for use in the construction industry.

With this award, Etihad Rail has completed the contract-awarding process of Stage Two of the national network which will connect Fujairah and Khorfakkan on the UAE’s east coast to the UAE’s Saudi border at Ghuweifat.