Etihad Rail, the master developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway network, announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DP World for the development of an intermodal rail terminal in Jebel Ali Port. This important agreement, which was signed by His Excellency Nasser Al Sowaidi, Chairman of Etihad Rail,and His Excellency Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World, represents a further significant step forward in the development of the rail network.
The intermodal rail terminal at Jebel Ali will enable the more efficient transfer of containerised freight arriving at the port, bringing substantial benefits to logistics companies and the UAE economy as a whole. DP World, a leader in international marine terminal operations and development whose flagship Jebel Ali Port has been voted Best Sea port in the Middle East for the last 17 consecutive years, has already earmarked a strategic potential plot for the intermodal rail terminal, adjacent to Jebel Ali Maritime Terminal 1 and close to Terminal 2. The team at DP World will oversee the building and operation of the loading and unloading facilities at the rail terminal while Etihad Rail will construct and own the railway infrastructure and manage the rail services to and from the terminal.
Commenting on the MOU signing, HE Nasser Al Sowaidi, Chairman of Etihad Rail, said: “This important MOU with DP World is a key mile stone in securing Jebel Ali Port as an integral part of the Etihad Rail network, and represents a significant step forward in the network’s overall development. We are delighted to have DP World on board as a partner in our strategic national project. Our collaboration with them in creating an intermodal rail terminal inside Jebel Ali Port will enable the efficient transfer of containerised freight from ocean vessels onto the rail network and vice versa, ultimately driving the economic growth of the UAE while being closely aligned with the UAE Vision 2021 and Abu Dhabi Vision 2030.”
DP World Chairman HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said: “We are delighted to formally sign this MOU with Etihad Rail. The rail terminal and the Etihad Rail network as a whole will add significantly to the efficiency we can offer customers at our flagship Jebel Ali port. With state of the art facilities at Jebel Ali, able to serve the largest vessels in the world, supported by the latest e-trade technology, and the Dubai Logistics Corridor linked to the Dubai World Central airport, Jebel Ali will be fully multi-modal, connecting sea-road-rail-air. This will add enormously to the efficiency of the supply chain and reinforce Dubai’s status as both a regional hub and a gateway for cargo for the UAE and the wider Middle East, Subcontinent and East Africa region.”
The MoU highlights how the rail network can offer logistics companies a safer, more efficient and more environmentally-friendly solution to their transportation requirements. The shift from truck to rail transportation will reduce truck traffic at the port terminal and on the roads surrounding Jebel Ali while also being more cost effective for businesses over long haul moves. One Etihad Rail train will carry up to 260 TEU’s (twenty-foot equivalent container units), which, if transported by road, would require at least 130 trucks, and by 2030 it is expected that the Jebel Ali intermodal rail terminal will have a capacity to handle the transfer of 5 million TEU’s per annum.
The signing of the MOU with DP World further expands Etihad Rail’s already impressive list of partners and customers. In October last year Etihad Rail signed a formal agreement with ADNOC to help it transfer sulphur from its sources in Shah and Habshan to its point of export at Ruwais. The company has also signed MoUs with a host of other national companies such as Emirates Steel, Arkan, AlDahra Agricultural Company, Etisalat and du, who are also all looking to use the railway as a solution to their diverse business requirements and transportation needs.
Upon completion, the Etihad Rail network - which will cater to both freight and passengers will span a total of 1,200 km across the Emirates. It will connect urban and remote communities, facilitate trade, open up communication channels and foster economic development. The network will also form a vital part of the GCC Railway Network linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.