Etihad Rail receives approval to begin stage one commercial operations - Gulf Business
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Etihad Rail receives approval to begin stage one commercial operations

Etihad Rail receives approval to begin stage one commercial operations

Stage one will transport sulphur from Shah and Habshan to the port of Ruwais on two daily trains

Etihad Rail has received the final approval from the United Arab Emirates’ Federal Transport Authority to begin commercial operations on stage one of its network.

The official safety authorisations permit Etihad Rail to operate on the 264 kilometre route, which forms part of the wider $40bn UAE rail network spanning across 1,200 kms.

Stage one will transport sulphur from Shah and Habshan to the port of Ruwais on two daily trains, each transporting 11,000 tonnes.

This will dramatically decrease the number of trucks on the road, a statement said.

Chairman of Etihad Rail Nasser Alsowaidi said: “During the past year, we have already transported more than three million tonnes of sulphur from Shah and Habshan to the port of Ruwais for our customer, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), as part of the testing and commissioning and trial operations phases.

“We now look forward to taking our operations to full commercial capacity, which will see Etihad Rail transport as much as seven million tonnes of sulphur every year.”

Officials have also confirmed that work has started on the second phase of the project, which will include connecting Abu Dhabi with Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat and Oman through Al Ain. It will also connect vital areas such as Mussaffah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port in Dubai.

The preliminary design and engineering for the second phase has been completed and the tender process for six construction packages is in the final stages of evaluation, Etihad Rail’s regulatory affairs advisor John Thomas confirmed recently.

“Stage two will represent a major step to link the UAE to the wider Gulf Cooperation Council rail network by connecting the country to Saudi Arabia and Oman, and initial construction is expected to commence soon after contracts have been finalised and awarded,” he said.

The tender packages, which were recently re-issued following further project studies, include signalling, project management consultancy and construction of railway lines in the second phase.

While the overall rail network will include both freight and passenger services, UAE’s minister of Public Works Abdullah Al Nuaimi told Gulf Business earlier this year that passenger rail services is not an immediate priority for the country.

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