Etihad Rail, Oman Rail partner to build $3bn railway line
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UAE and Oman to build $3bn railway line

UAE and Oman to build $3bn railway line

The newly formed company will handle the design, development, and operation of the rail network, connecting Sohar Port to the UAE National Rail Network

Etihad Rail_Oman Rail courtesy WAM

Oman Rail has signed an agreement with Etihad Rail to jointly establish Oman-Etihad Rail Company. The “equally-owned” company will have access to an investment of $3bn to design, develop and operate a railway network connecting Sohar Port to the UAE National Rail Network.

Under this agreement, the new company will lay the groundwork and work plan for the project, including its financial mechanisms and schedule.

This major joint venture is an extension of the longstanding collaboration of Oman Rail and Etihad Rail, which seek to create new prospects in the infrastructure, transport and logistics industries by connecting the two countries via rail.

The two entities aim to unlock new opportunities by connecting key urban centers, facilitating travel between communities and providing seamless transport solutions between economic and industrial zones in Oman and the UAE.

The 303-kilometre railway will primarily link Sohar to Abu Dhabi and will feature the best international safety, security, and environmental standards, to provide faster and safer passenger and freight services.

The passenger trains are designed to reduce travel time from Sohar to Abu Dhabi to 1 hour 40 minutes, and from Sohar to Al Ain to 47 minutes, travelling at a maximum speed of 200 km/h. Meanwhile, the freight trains will run up to 120 km/h.

The railway network between the Oman and the UAE will boost the growth of the national economy in both countries. It will also improve the efficiency of supply chain, facilitate cross-border trade by linking commercial ports to the railway network, boost market competitiveness and reduce the total cost of supply chains.

With multiple stakeholders set to reap the benefits of this mega project, the railway will provide a host of investment opportunities and support contracts to the private sector.

On a wider scope, the project will stimulate tourism activities between Oman and the UAE, strengthen the competitiveness of the two countries in global trade and solidify their positions as logistics hubs for import and export to regional markets. Engineer Abdulrahman Salim Al Hatmi, group CEO of Asyad, explained that “adding a new railway capability to our logistics sector will offer trade and logistics companies outstanding investment opportunities and empower manufacturing and industrial activities to quickly expand beyond borders. The envisioned network will complement our comprehensive set of ports and logistics assets, augment our competitiveness and open faster access to global markets.”

“The railway also promises huge strategic economic and social gains as it promotes a more diverse robust national economy, upgrades infrastructure and logistic services, drives forward travel and tourism, and ultimately improves the quality of life for communities on both sides of the borders by supporting the various strategic initiatives of the governments of Oman and the UAE,” he said.

Engineer Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, said: “In line with the vision and directives of our wise leadership, we are delighted to start this partnership with Oman Rail, which heralds a new chapter of collaboration and prosperity between both countries. The agreement outlines a strategic roadmap for a sustainable project which will contribute to bolstering the solid relations between the UAE and Oman, and will play an instrumental role in facilitating national and regional trade by connecting the UAE National Rail Network with Sohar Port.”

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