Etihad Rail announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Railway Company (SAR) to adopt common solutions and enhance coordination for the GCC’s rail industry.
The MoU seeks to ‘introduce common solutions, leverage best practice and allow for the free exchange of ideas and knowledge to improve the safety, efficiency, and economy of both countries’ railways networks,’ official news agency WAM reported.
Committees will be created with representatives from both the companies and will regularly hold meetings, seminars, and workshops.
Rumaih bin Mohammad Al Rumaih, CEO of SAR, said: “This agreement will contribute to creating an attractive market environment for rail and open doors to compete with other means of transportation, especially for freight and heavy haul.”
Faris Saif Al Mazrouei, acting CEO of Etihad Rail, added: “We already work closely with our GCC neighbours in an effort to ensure that technical standards and technology for the railway network are consistent.”
He also said that the UAE’s Dhs40 billion Etihad Rail project, stretching 1,200 kilometres, is proceeding on track.
“Work on the UAE’s national railway is progressing on schedule… We are pleased that the completion of Stage One of Etihad Rail also represents the completion of the first stage of the main GCC line.”
Etihad Rail is scheduled to begin operations by the first quarter of 2014, with the project’s first phase including a 266-kilometre long rail network that runs from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais.
The wider GCC Rail project, valued at $15.5 billion, will connect all the six Gulf Arab states and has a completion date of 2018. Each of the GCC states will work on an individual link before the common network is connected.