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Tue 26 Jan 2016 03:27 PM

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Etihad Rail suspends tendering process for phase 2 of UAE rail network

Company says it is reviewing 'most appropriate options' for timing and delivery of second phase of project

Etihad Rail suspends tendering process for phase 2 of UAE rail network

Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE's $11 billion national rail network, on Tuesday confirmed that it has suspended the tendering process for Stage Two of the project.

All bidders have been informed in writing, the company said in a statement.

It added that it has suspended the Stage Two tender process while it reviews the most appropriate options for the timing and delivery of this phase of the project.

The decision will have no impact on Stage One operations, it said.

The UAE government has begun to slow some spending and review construction plans in some areas as low oil prices hit state finances.

Stage Two involves the construction of the rail network in the Abu Dhabi Emirate by connecting to the Saudi border at Ghweifat and the Omani border at Al Ain, and by connecting vital areas such as Mussaffah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port in Dubai.

Etihad Rail commenced commercial operations on Stage One of the rail network, which links Shah and Habshan to the port of Ruwais, after official safety authorizations were granted by the Federal Transport Authority in December 2015.

To date, Etihad Rail has transported four million tonnes of Sulphur from Shah and Habshan to the port of Ruwais for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). Once Stage One reaches full commercial capacity, Etihad Rail will transport more than seven million tonnes of Sulphur every year.

Nasser Alsowaidi, chairman of Etihad Rail, said: “Etihad Rail is one of the biggest and most complex infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UAE. As we enter 2016, we have been working closely with our partners and stakeholders to assess our strategic priorities for the year.

"As a result, a decision has been taken to suspend the tendering process for Stage Two whilst we review the most appropriate timing for this investment.”

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