The UAE’s Etihad Rail, which recently announced construction updates about its 1,000km passenger and freight network, will build a new Abu Dhabi facility for goods headed to Saudi Arabia.
Zones Corp and Etihad Rail have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop the facility within Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (Icad).
The 600ha facility, which will be the closest logistics centre to Abu Dhabi city, will serve companies in Icad and Mussafah, in addition to acting as a “point of departure” for the Saudi Arabian route.
As part of the MoU, both organisations will create a leadership team and establish task forces to manage the project, and ensure that its operational processes complete on time.
Designs for Etihad Rail’s Stage 2, which stretches 605km between Ghuweifat and Fujairah, have been completed. In November 2018, the developer-operator company signed an agreement with the UAE’s Ministry of Finance and Abu Dhabi Department of Finance to fund the second phase.
Stage 2 will link the UAE to Saudi Arabia through Mussafah, Khalifa Port, and Jebel Ali Port. American firm Jacobs and France’s Egis are both working on Etihad Rail’s Stage 2.
Etihad Rail’s chief executive officer, Shadi Malak, signed the MoU with Saeed Eisa Mohammed Al Khyeli, director general of Zones Corp. HH Sheikh Theyab Bin Mohamed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Transport and Etihad Rail, attended the signing ceremony.
HE Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities and the Higher Corporation for Specialised Zones, was also present for the MoU’s signing.
Commenting on the agreement, HH Sheikh Theyab said: “This agreement contributes to achieving our vision to connect cities and industries with a secure and sustainable railway network. It is also part of our mission to find economic logistics solutions for the rail network to connect the entire UAE and provide outstanding services to industries and society.
“Zones Corp is a key partner for Etihad Rail as it is the largest developer and operator of purpose-built industrial zones in the UAE and is playing a leading role in developing the nation’s industrial sector.”
HE Al Ahbabi added: “Constructing a logistics facility and railway track along with the necessary infrastructure in Icad will contribute to consolidating logistics operations in one place, which will bring further growth in the process of handling containers and cargos, as well as logistics services.
“This will help Abu Dhabi to consolidate its established position on the global trade map.”
Stage 1 of Etihad Rail is currently operational, with the 264km route from Shah to Habshan transporting sulphur to Ruwais in Abu Dhabi.