Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway network, and the Saudi Railway Company signed a deal to encourage knowledge transfer and training between the two entities.
The companies agreed to co-operate in four main areas including lease arrangements for locomotives and wagons, spare parts purchasing, special volunteer groups and shared services initiatives, Etihad Rail said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Our agreement with the Saudi Railway Company is aligned to Etihad Rail’s strategic role in the development of the UAE’s logistics and mobility sector," said Shadi Malak, chief executive of Etihad Rail.
"We look to contribute to the ongoing comprehensive development process aimed at achieving the UAE’s economic vision and government strategies, while optimally using available resources and capabilities."
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.
Through the partnership, Etihad Rail and SRC will also identify future initiatives in technology and procurement.
Etihad Rail said in January that it started construction of the 139-kilometre stretch connecting the existing line at Ruwais to Ghuweifat. Stage one of Etihad Rail – linking the gas fields at Shah and Habshan to Ruwais – is already in operation.
Close to 59 per cent of the project has been completed so far, according to an update provided by the rail operator.