By Sam Bridge
Deal with Progress Rail Locomotive Inc, a Caterpillar company, will see the fleet expand to 45 locomotives from just 7
Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway, has awarded a contract to significantly increase the size of its fleet of locomotives.
The deal with Progress Rail Locomotive Inc, a Caterpillar company, will see the fleet expand to 45 locomotives, which is equivalent to 6 times the current fleet.
Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court and chairman of Etihad Rail, said: “We are moving forward in completing all the necessary components for this national project that contributes to the UAE's progress and enhances the country’s prestigious global position.
"The cutting-edge fleet of locomotives will raise the bar in the transportation system and logistics services in the country and increase the network’s annual capacity to more than 60 million tons, compared to the current annual capacity of approximately 7.2 million tons.”
Etihad Rail has also contracted Progress Rail, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of diesel-electric locomotives, to design, manufacture, test, and ship 38 EMD locomotives especially designed to withstand the high temperatures and humidity of the Gulf region.
The fleet will be equipped with a state-of-the-art system that filters sand from the air intake and pulse cleaning systems, ensuring effective and efficient operations while passing through desert areas.
The locomotives are designed to haul a 100-wagon train, which can replace 5,600 on-road truck trips per day.
Since Etihad Rail became operational in 2016, the company’s current fleet of 7 locomotives has contributed to decreasing the number of truck trips on the roads of Al Dhafrah by more than one million, with up to 28 million tons of granulated sulphur transported from sources at Shah and Habshan to the processing and export point at Ruwais.
The signing of the contract follows the awarding of all civil works contracts for stage two of the national railway network, the launch of construction works of Package A of stage two, and the award of a contract to build a series of freight facilities for the rail network.
Etihad Rail has successfully completed stage one of the network, spanning 264km to transport sulphur from sources at Shah and Habshan to the export point at Ruwais.
Stage two links the UAE and Saudi Arabia from Fujairah Port to Ghuweifat through Mussafah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port.
When complete, Etihad Rail’s network will span approximately 1,200km.