(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) Etihad Rail - the developer and operator of the UAE's national railway network -announced today that the first shipment of wagons, to be used in Stage One of the rail project linking Shah and Habshan to Ruwais in the Western Region, arrived earlier this week at Abu Dhabi's historic port, Mina Zayed, aboard the King Spirit. Senior delegates from Etihad Rail were on hand to receive and inspect the wagons upon arrival.
Commenting on the arrival of the King Spirit, Dr. Nasser Saif Al-Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail said, "the timely arrival of the wagons is yet another indicator of the rapid progress being made on this strategic national project. Construction activity for the first stage of the rail project, which is being developed in partnership with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), is far along and we are on track to see the first trains run from Habshan to Ruwais within a year using these wagons. Etihad Rail's wagons were carefully manufactured and designed based on several studies and integrated research efforts conducted in collaboration with Etihad Rail's different suppliers, leading us to adopt some of the most advanced rail technologies available in the world.
The rail project will change the face of transportation in the UAE, playing a significant role in building a sustainable economy by promoting growth in various business sectors, providing jobs for the local workforce, and contributing to environmental preservation, since one fully loaded train produces 70-80% less CO2 emissions than that of the trucks required to transport the same tonnage." Etihad Rail contracted China South Locomotive '&' Rolling Stock Corporation Limited (CSR) last year to supply 240 covered wagons for the transport of granulated sulphur in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi. Etihad Rail has also contracted United States-based Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), one of the world's largest builders of diesel-electric locomotives, to design and manufacture seven heavy haul freight locomotives.
The wagons were designed with the highest available safety standards to accommodate the core purpose of Stage One, the transport of granulated sulphur. For example, the wagons' top-hatch covers for loading maintain the purity of the sulphur at 99.9%. Furthermore, train transport allows for a capacity of up to 22,000 tonnes of sulphur per day. It would take 360 trucks to transport the equivalent tonnage.
Mina Zayed, developed by Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) and managed and operated by Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT), has already received other equipment necessary for the construction of Stage One, including one locomotive (to switch the wagons), and will continue to act as Etihad Rail's gateway to vital suppliers from around the globe. Locomotives to be used in Stage One will be arriving in the UAE in Q1 of 2013.
Commenting on the arrival of the wagons, Martijn Van de Linde, CEO of Abu Dhabi Terminals, said, "Though the management and operation of Mina Zayed, Mussafah Port, Freeport and the recently inaugurated Khalifa Port, the region's first semi-automatic port, ADT is playing a key role in supporting the development of Abu Dhabi's strategic national infrastructure. ADT's work to ensure that wagons and other equipment vital to the development of the Etihad Rail network, that arrive from around the world, are efficiently sent to where they are needed is a testimony to ADT's commitment to working closely with other key organizations and entities sharing similar objectives related to contributing to Abu Dhabi's Economic Vision 2030.
The recently inaugurated Khalifa Port, constructed by ADPC, will be linked to Etihad Rail's network during Stage Two of Etihad Rail's construction process. Linking Abu Dhabi's ports with the Etihad Rail network will create a multi-modal transportation system that will contribute to Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.
Tony Douglas, CEO, ADPC commented: "We congratulate Etihad Rail on the delivery of its wagons at Mina Zayed. We're looking forward in particular to the company running its freight service to Khalifa Port from 2016. This will boost the port's transport services and is a vital milestone for the megaproject Khalifa Port and Kizad".
Construction on the 264 km route for Stage One of Etihad Rail, which links Shah and Habshan to Ruwais, is well under way. The tendering process is already in progress for Stage Two, which will connect the railway to Mussafah Port, to the UAE's Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port and further to the Saudi and Omani borders, spanning 628 km.
Stage Three, at 279 km, will connect the rest of the Northern Emirates and will inaugurate Etihad Rail's passenger service. Upon completion, the Etihad Rail network - which will cater to both freight and passengers - will extend approximately 1,200 km across the Emirates. It will connect urban and remote communities, facilitate trade, open up communication channels and foster economic development. The network will also form a vital part of the GCC Railway Network - linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.