Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed inaugurates track laying works across Al Dhafrah region


In Package A of the UAE national railway network

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, inaugurated track-laying works across Al Dhafrah Region in Package A of Stage Two of the UAE’s national railway, during his visit to Etihad Rail’s railhead in Al Ruwais. 

His Highness was accompanied by H.E. Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Transport and Etihad Rail board member and senior executives from the company. 

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan was briefed by Shadi Malak, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Rail, on construction progress of Package A, which will connect the UAE rail network to Al Ghuwaifat on the Saudi border and the wider GCC region. Having started in early 2020, steady progress has been made on construction of Package A, which is now 59% complete. 

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan reiterated that the UAE, under the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, is committed to advanced and integrated infrastructure projects, in particular in the transport sector, which will support the sustainable development of the UAE. 

His Highness expressed his appreciation for the continuous support of the UAE’s wise leadership for a project that is enhancing the UAE’s status both locally and regionally. With the support of His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of Etihad Rail, the project has achieved key milestones, with construction progress of Stage Two accelerated, while Etihad Rail’s Stage One continues to overachieve, with 2020 operations out performing 2019’s results.

A presentation to His Highness on progress being made across Package A revealed that half of the soil preparation works have been completed, with 79% of sand and rock cutting also finished. Overall, 59% of Package A construction works have already concluded. 

As the strategic enabler of the UAE’s ambition to become a global hub for advanced logistics operations, His Highness stressed the need to continue developing all four packages of Stage Two, according to the highest international standards. His Highness also emphasised that the project aligns with one of the most important pillars of the UAE’s preparations for the next fifty years, and is a major contributor to the growth of the national economy, as the development of a national railway network enables a sustainable transport sector.

His Highness praised the efforts made by the Etihad Rail team, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to expand the horizons of the transport sector and in doing so, to improve the well-being and happiness of every citizen and resident in the UAE.

During the presentation, Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, referred to the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, during his visit in 2013, on the importance of training and employing young nationals to lead this vital sector, pointing out that the company’s team includes several Emiratis working in key positions. In addition, he stated that Etihad Rail has established the first railway Diploma in the UAE, to train and qualify the young Emiratis to be the driving force for this strategic national project, and confirmed that the first batch of students graduated in 2020 and already working on site.

His Highness also met with Emirati employees working on the project, including graduates from the railway diploma and he stressed the importance of developing a new generation of Emirati talent to lead the evolution of this vital sector.

The visit was attended by; H.E. Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, H.E. Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, H.E. Eng. Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of the Department of Energy, Member of the Executive Council, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Rashed Al Hameli, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, H.E. Ahmed Matar Al Dhaheri, Director of the Ruler’s Representative Office in the Al Dhafra Region,  H.E. Issa Hamad Bushehab, Advisor to the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region, H.E. Nasser Muhammad Matar AL Mansouri, Acting Undersecretary of the Ruler’s Representative Court in Al Dhafra Region, in addition to several senior officials.

About Etihad Rail:

Etihad Rail was established in June 2009 under Federal Law No. 2, with the mandate to manage the development, construction and operation of the UAE’s national freight and passenger railway network. The railway network will link the principal centres of population and industry of the UAE, and will form a vital part of the planned railway network across the GCC.

Etihad Rail has successfully completed Stage One of the network. Stage One is fully operational and was delivered on schedule and within budget. The route spans 264 km, transporting granulated sulphur from sources at Shah and Habshan to the export point at Ruwais. 

Stage Two links the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia from Fujairah Port to Ghuweifat through Mussafah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port. Built to international standards, Etihad Rail’s state-of-the-art network will span approximately 1,200 km, acting as a catalyst for economic growth and sustained social development. Upon completion, the railway will redefine logistics and transport in the region, providing a modern, safe, efficient and sustainable mode of transport that will connect all regions of the UAE to its neighbouring GCC countries.