Contractors resubmit bids for Stage Two of Etihad Rail

Stage Two of the Etihad Rail project covers the link from the Saudi Arabian border to the existing line between Ruwais and Tarif, and then moves through Abu Dhabi before terminating at the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai.
Etihad Rail earlier said it had moved two million tonnes of sulphur to Ruwais over the past year. Wam
Etihad Rail earlier said it had moved two million tonnes of sulphur to Ruwais over the past year. Wam

Contractors have resubmitted bids for sections of Stage Two of the Etihad Rail project, but no bids have yet been received for a key section linking the network from Abu Dhabi and on to Oman as part of the wider GCC network.

Stage Two of the Etihad Rail project covers the link from the Saudi Arabian border to the existing line between Ruwais and Tarif, and then moves through Abu Dhabi before terminating at the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai. A spur also moved through Al Ain and connected to Oman’s rail network.

Contractors initially submitted bids to build Stage Two in December 2012, but Ed James, the director of analysis at Meed Projects, said that Etihad Rail cancelled the tender during the summer.

New tenders were then issued containing four separate packages, but they did not include the Al Ain spur containing the GCC link to Oman. The spur was subsequently included as an addendum, but contractors who bid for the other packages have not bid for this line, according to Meed, an industry researcher.

Salem Al Zaabi, the director general of the UAE’s Federal Transport Authority, told delegates at the Mena Rail and Metro Summit that “there is no cancellation of the link … It will be tendered and will be announced at the right time”.

He had earlier indicated that the new railway law setting the regulatory framework for operators in the UAE was likely to be introduced next year.

He also said the UAE was further ahead than many of its regional peers, having already completed 246 kilometres of its 684km stretch of the GCC network.

A meeting of the GCC’s transport heads is set to take place in the next few weeks to discuss the programme for the entire 2,117km network.

The stated completion date of the project in 2018 is looking increasingly unlikely because most GCC countries have yet to start laying track.

“As far as the UAE [is concerned], we are aligned with the GCC project and I think we will hopefully stick with the schedule ” said Mr Al Zaabi. “We will see what the other countries will present.”

An Etihad Rail spokesman said: “A meticulous planning and review process of the most effective delivery options are imperative to the successful completion of Stage Two.

Etihad Rail remains fully committed to delivering its part of the GCC railway project.”

mfahy@thenational.ae

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Published: October 6, 2015 04:00 AM

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