Abu Dhabi Ports has signed an agreement with Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway, with the aim to connect Khalifa Port with the national railway network.
Both companies aim to support the growth and diversification of the UAE economy by facilitating the transport of containers and other types of cargo through connecting ports to the rail network and strengthening infrastructure.
Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed Al Nahyan, member of the executive council and chairman of Etihad rail, said: “The signing of the agreement will have a positive impact on many sectors of the national economy and society.
“Today, with more than half of the cargo going to and from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) entering and exiting through UAE ports, the link will significantly enhance the capacity of the port and strengthen the UAE’s position as a leading and global logistics and commercial hub.”
As part of the second stage of the project, the Etihad Rail network will extend 605 km from Ghuweifat on the UAE’s border with Saudi Arabia to Fujariah on the east coast through Khalifa Port, Jebel Ali and Khor Fakkan.
Stage one of the project, which extends 264 km, began operations in 2016 and links the Shah and Habshan gas fields in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi to the port of Ruwais on the Arabian Gulf.
As Khalifa Port’s capacity is expected to rise to 9.1m teu over the next five years, the Etihad Rail facility aims to increase capacity in an economical and reliable way as one train will be able to carry the load of 300 trucks.
The port’s rail terminal capacity is expected to be the largest of its kind within the UAE as it accommodates 2.4m containers yearly, according to bin Mohamed.
UAE minister of state and chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, explained that the agreement supported the company’s plans to actively contribute to the economic development.
Al Jaber added: “With a strategic role to provide a fast and sustainable transport network as per highest standards of efficiency and safety, Etihad Rail National Railway is a quantum leap to streamline economic benefits for all commercial, industrial and logistics sectors.”
Abu Dhabi Ports has plans to develop the emirate’s maritime trade and promote economic diversification, which it hopes to achieve through increasing local, regional and international traffic and attracting more foreign direct investment to Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
The agreement also supports the UAE 2021 vision and the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 as it aims to provide a safe and sustainable railway network and develop economic transport links to the UAE.