By Sara Anabtawi
Port operator will supervise building and management of loading facilities
Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE's railway network, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with DP World, the world's third-biggest port operator, to develop a rail terminal at Jebel Ali Port near Dubai.
Under the agreement, DP World will supervise the building and operation of the loading and unloading facilities at the rail terminal. Etihad Rail will construct and own the railway infrastructure and manage the rail services to and from the terminal.
“Our collaboration with [DP World] in creating an intermodal rail terminal inside Jebel Ali Port will enable the efficient transfer of containerised freight from ocean vessels onto the rail network and vice versa,” said chairman of Etihad Rail HE Nasser Al Sowaidi.
The move underlines the shift from truck to rail transportation, with one Etihad Rail train able to carry up to 260 TEU’s (20 ft equivalent container units), which, if transported by road, would require at least 130 trucks.
By 2030, the Jebel Ali intermodal rail terminal is expected to have a capacity to handle the transfer of 5m TEUs per annum.
Upon completion, the Etihad Rail network - which will cater to both freight and passengers - will span a total of 1,200 km across the Emirates and will connect remote communities, as well potentially facilitate trade, open up communication channels and advance economic development.
The network will be 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.