Construction of the UAE’s rail network remains on track.
Stage one of Etihad Rail is already complete and operating along a 264-kilometre route from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais, transporting sulphur.
Stage two links the UAE and Saudi Arabia from Fujairah Port to Ghuweifat, through Mussafah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port.
The complete network will measure about 1,200km.
The company this week revealed the UAE’s first marine rail bridge was 50 per cent complete.
The bridge, which is more than one kilometre long, will connect Khalifa Port with the UAE National Rail Network and play an important role in transporting goods across the region, reducing freight and trade costs.
Omar Al Sebeyi, acting executive director of the commercial sector at Etihad Rail, said the group's focus remains on freight.
“Right now in stage two, we are looking into the main backbone, which is the freight.,” he said, speaking at an event to announce the relocation of the Middle East Rail show from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in May 2022.
Once fully operational, the fleet of trains and wagons running on the Etihad Rail network will replace 5,600 daily trips by lorries on the road.
A fully loaded train emits up to 80 per cent less carbon dioxide than lorries transporting the same tonnage.
Based on traffic volume forecasts, the Etihad Rail network will reduce greenhouse gases by more than 2.2 million tonnes annually, the equivalent of taking up to 375,000 vehicles off the roads.
Wagons running on the Etihad Rail tracks will ship anything from consumer goods to perishable food and beverages.
Some of the typical products expected to move across the Emirates include hay, ceramics, polymers, sugar, metal, waste and shipping containers.
Etihad Rail is one of the main sponsors of the Middle East Rail 2022 conference, which will take place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on May 17 and 18.