Etihad Rail: on track to change the region…

The first stage of the Etihad Rail project starts operations later this year, with trains set to run between a pair of Western Region sulphur mines and the port at Ruwais. When fully complete – currently targeted to be by December 2018 – the 1200km network will link the UAE and beyond, running from the border of Saudi Arabia to the border of Oman across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates, with major connecting points in between, including Al Ain and Madinat Zayed.

The system will offer freight terminals, distribution centres and depots, all located close to major transport hubs, warehouses and storage facilities across the UAE, including Mussafah, Khalifa Port, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Fujairah Port and Saqr Port.

Launching a major infrastructure service such as this will clearly be a game changer for the UAE. Our previous reliance on trucks as the only way to move goods and raw materials around the region, and onto our ports, will change forever. If logistics such as these play an important role in your SME, then Etihad Rail is clearly something that needs to be factored into any five-year plans you create.
Changing to rail instead of road could save you money, boost your business and open up new possibilities.

The team at Etihad Rail have analysed these potential benefits. Their studies include projected freight cost savings, business travel time savings and other economic remunerations.
They’ve calculated that a single freight train can carry the load of up to 300 trucks. Not only will this speed up and simplify your transportation requirements, it will reduce road congestion and – based on forecasted traffic volumes – slash greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.2 million tonnes annually: the equivalent of removing 375,000 vehicles from our roads.

They are also working on the basis that, by providing freight capacity, the rail network will boost the health and development of industrial clusters, and thus support sustainable industrial diversification. Overall, the enhanced connectivity that Etihad Rail will deliver will bring businesses closer together, facilitate more efficient trade, extend geographic markets and make a greater labour force available.

So what will you be able to transport – is Etihad Rail for you? Whether shipping aggregates or consumer goods, or perishable food and beverage items, the system will provide a reliable means to deliver your products. There will be several different train types available, providing the ability to ship cargo through either intermodal steel containers, flat wagons, rail gondolas with low-side walls for loose bulk materials, bottom-drop hoppers with opening doors on the underside to discharge cargo, or temperature-controlled cars for perishable, delicate and temperature-sensitive products. These services will be supplied on a regular-booking basis, or you can order them as a one-off booking to suit your individual requirements.

The project timetable plans for freight operations to be widely available by 2017, and fully operational by the end of 2018. However SMEs can gain a considerable advantage by talking to Etihad Rail now. The team is currently developing solutions around the needs that clients are bringing to them. Get in now, and your business could influence the final system. This could even go as far as Etihad Rail considering the option of linking a rail terminal to your business. With every business that contacts them, Etihad Rail is analysing what they are shipping and then working with the company on a customisable rail solution to transport their goods.

“The opinions expressed within this article are generic. Mashreq is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information on this article. The information, facts or opinions appearing in this article do not reflect the views of Mashreq. Mashreq does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.”