UAE-Oman rail link: first board meeting discusses fast-track execution plans

Directors committed to adopting highest global standards for security, safety and sustainability

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The board of directors of a joint-venture company between Oman Rail and Etihad Rail has held its first meeting to discuss fast-track execution plans.

The meeting of the Oman Rail-Etihad Rail JV Company was held in Dubai, two days after an agreement was signed to form the alliance.

The board discussed implementation plans, including technical studies and architectural design, as well as environmental studies for routes, the business model and the commercial affairs of the joint venture.

The board also committed to adopting the highest global standards for security, safety and sustainability throughout the development of the network, which will extend 303 kilometres, to provide safe and fast passenger transport and freight services, a statement said.

The company has been tasked with laying the groundwork and work plan for the project, including its financial elements and schedule, and will also handle the design, development and operation of the rail network, UAE state news agency Wam said on Thursday.

The agreement to build the rail network was signed on September 29 during a state visit of President Sheikh Mohamed to Oman.

Trains that can reach speeds of 200 kilometres an hour will connect Abu Dhabi with Sohar to the north of Muscat, the Oman News Agency said. Freight trains will run at up to 120kph.

The deal includes connecting the UAE's existing freight services line to Sohar, the sultanate's deep-sea port.

Passenger trains will run between Sohar and Abu Dhabi in 100 minutes, and between Sohar and Al Ain in 47 minutes.

Freight trains will have an annual capacity of 22.5 million tonnes of bulk cargo and 282,000 containers.

The company will receive investments amounting to about 1.16 billion Omani rials ($3bn).

The board of directors includes Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; Saeed bin Hamoud Al Maawali, Oman's Minister of Transport, Communications and Information Technology; Sheikh Nasser Al Harthy, acting vice president of operations affairs at Oman Investment Authority and chairman of the board of directors of Asyad Group; Saeed Al Zaabi, chairman of the board of directors of Etihad Rail Mobility; Abdulrahman Al Hatmi, group chief executive of Asyad Group; and Shadi Malak, chief executive of Etihad Rail.

Ahmed Al Hashemi was appointed as chief executive of the company, and Mohammed Al Mahruqi as deputy chief executive.

“The joint railway network will advance the land transport system between the two countries in line with the best-in-class criteria and standards, providing safe, reliable, and sustainable transportation, which in turn, will further facilitate connectivity between industrial and commercial centres, and cement the longstanding social cohesion between the two countries,” Mr Al Mazrouei said.

The $3 billion railway network will contribute to the growth of the two countries and facilitate cross-border trade by linking commercial ports to the railway network.

Updated: October 03, 2022, 3:32 AM