Consultant

Etihad Rail awards CRRC Corporation contract to triple fleet; sets sights on annual capacity of 59mn tonnes

842 new wagons will help network become ‘principal platform for freight haulage’ in the UAE, according to Etihad chairman

Etihad Rail has awarded CRRC Corporation Limited the contract to supply 824 new wagons for the UAE rail network.

The acquisition triples its total fleet; taking the number of units beyond 1,000 and increases annual transport capacity by a factor of 8 – reaching up to 59 million tonnes per annum. Expected transported cargo includes: containerised and bulk freight, including petrochemicals, aggregates, construction related materials, industrial and perishable goods, waste, cement and all related construction materials, aluminium, perishable goods, as well as general cargo, both domestically and internationally.

This expansion paves the way for the rail transport to become a principal platform for freight haulage in the UAE following the completion of Stage Two, “as it connects the entire country,” said Etihad Rail.

Etihad Rail chairman said during an on-line ceremony to formalise the deal said the increasing of the rail’s annual transport capacity to  59 million tonnes will aid building a sustainable national railway network “designed to transform the UAE’s freight transport and logistics mode of operation by modernising the haulage map for the end users, customers as well as operators.”

He added: “The national railway network is designed to cater to the needs of customers and related industrial sectors, as well as existing multi-modal transport systems. Etihad Rail, the operator of a new, modern, scalable, and reliable mode of transport, will directly support the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership for economic growth and sustainable transportation.”

In a statement announcing the purchase, Etihad Rail explained that the wagons will be manufactured according to specific GCC requirements, “including state-of-the-art breaking, signalling, and communications control and safety systems, while being tailor made for the specific regional environmental conditions in general and for the UAE in particular.”

The rail operator said the 605km Stage Two of its network is moving forward rapidly, “as all contracts for the construction, civil works, Freight Facilities centres and the Operations and Maintenance headquarters have been awarded, plans approved, and ground broken on the Stage Two rail corridors.”

The network will connect Ghuweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah and Khorfakkan on the UAE’s east coast, as well as the ports of Jebel Ali in Dubai, Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi, ICAD / Mussafah in Abu Dhabi and the Port of Fujairah, with the existing Stage One line at Ruwais, “effectively uniting the major industrial ports and trading centres of the country while opening up cross-border rail traffic to the GCC.”

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