Etihad Rail, the developer of the UAE’s national rail network, signed an agreement with quarrying company Stevin Rock to transport construction raw material from Ras Al Khaimah to Abu Dhabi.
An estimated 3.5 million tonnes of construction material will be carried annually from the company’s Al Ghail quarry to Abu Dhabi through 500 annual train trips, Etihad Rail said on Thursday.
Stevin Rock is one of the largest quarrying companies in the world, with an annual production capacity of over 80 million tonnes of limestone, dolomite and gabbro from three quarries.
“Stevin Rock will be one of the first to witness the benefits associated with the interconnectivity that Etihad Rail will establish within the emirates," Shadi Malak, chief executive of Etihad Rail, said.
The deal allows the company to transport its products from Ras Al Khaimah to Abu Dhabi’s logistics hub, the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi, he said.
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, attended the signing ceremony on Thursday.
The UAE, already one of the world's largest logistics and transportation hubs, is building an extensive rail network across the region to speed up transport of freight. Etihad Rail, which was formed in 2009, is tasked with building a rail network that extends for about 1,000km from Ghuweifat at the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah on the UAE’s east coast.
Upon completion, it will connect Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port and Mussaffah with Jebel Ali Port in Dubai and the Port of Fujairah.
Etihad Rail began construction works on the Al Ghail freight facility in 2020 with the aim of providing transportation services from the quarries of Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah to the rest of the UAE.
The network is expected to link with quarries Al Siji, Masafi, and Al Taween, speeding up transport of gabbro rock from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi and Dubai while reducing road-based truck trips.
Stage one of Etihad Rail – linking the gas fields at Shah and Habshan to Ruwais – is already in operation.
Etihad Rail said in January that it started construction of the 139-kilometre stretch connecting the existing line at Ruwais to Ghuweifat. Close to 59 per cent of the project has been completed so far, according to an update provided by the rail operator.