Etihad Rail – the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway network –has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dubai Industrial City for the development of a rail terminal within the City.
Signed by H.E. Dr. Nasser Al Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail, and Mr. Abdulla Khalifa Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Industrial City, the MoU specifies the logistics pertaining to the location of the terminal, which will be an important part of Stage Two of the rail network. The agreement will see Dubai Industrial City becoming one of Etihad Rail’s main public freight terminals in the Dubai emirate, and paves the way for the destination to become the centre of non-bonded transport (non-free zone areas) in the Emirate. Furthermore, the MoU supports Dubai Industrial City’s objective to cultivate the growth of the UAE’s manufacturing industry, which the UAE government aims to increase to comprise 25% of the GDP by 2015.
Commenting on the MoU, H.E. Dr. Nasser Al Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail, said: “Etihad Rail is part of a greater vision to drive economic growth and development in the UAE by bringing geographic markets closer together. The MoU with Dubai Industrial City is in line with this vision of driving development in all Emirates in the UAE, enhancing the country’s position as a logistics hub by concentrating all types of cargo in one strategic location. We look forward to working closely with Dubai Industrial City to develop one of Etihad Rail’s main public freight terminals, and to exploring opportunities with its growing portfolio of customers from the automotive industry.”
Dubai Industrial City has had considerable interest from customers in the automotive industry, with companies including Al Rostamani Group, Gargash Motors, Al Habtoor Motors and Al Naboodah Automobiles, finding the City an ideal destination for their logistics service centre and automobiles storage warehouse. These companies, recognising Dubai Industrial City as a local and regional hub for their needs, will also develop support and supply centres in the City for exports specifically to markets in developing countries.
Mr. Abdulla Khalifa Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Industrial City, also commented: “We are delighted that Etihad Rail has selected Dubai Industrial City as the location for one of the main stations in the Emirate. The decision is further evidence of the key strategic role Dubai Industrial City plays as a hub for the manufacturing and logistics industry on both a local and regional scale. The construction of this station – and the Etihad Rail project more broadly – will greatly contribute to the diversification of Dubai’s economy. It will drive investment in infrastructure, transport and the wider value chain, while providing additional connectivity and operational efficiency for companies across the UAE. It will also provide new links between residential and industrial areas, as well as urban and remote communities.”
Belhoul further added: “Connectivity is essential for manufacturing and logistics businesses.
That is why Dubai Industrial City is strategically located near Al Maktoum International Airport and Jebel Ali Free Zone. The site also has direct access to two major highways, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road. The Etihad Rail station will offer another easy, safe and convenient transportation option, and once complete, it will help reduce companies’ operational costs and speed up the logistics process. The station is being developed to global standards of best practice, and this includes ensuring that a clean environment is maintained within the City. I am confident that Dubai Industrial City will see further growth following the delivery of this rail station, as it provides additional opportunities for companies, investors and the labour force.”
The terminal is to be located within Dubai Industrial City – which, at 55 square kilometres, is the second largest industrial real estate project in Dubai – and will incorporate extensive container, automotive and bulk-handling facilities. The destination boasts close proximity to the UAE’s top hubs for transport, situated 25 km away from Jebel Ali Port, 50 km away from Khalifa Port, and 5km away from Al Maktoum International Airport between roads E311 and E611. The agreement comes at a time of rapid progress as Etihad Rail prepares to launch rail service on the Habshan-Ruwais route as part of Stage One later this year. Meanwhile, construction contracts for Stage Two, which will connect the railway to Mussafah, the Gulf ports of Khalifa and Jebel Ali, and the Saudi and Omani borders, will be awarded by year-end. Finally, preliminary engineering for Stage Three, which will connect the rest of the Northern Emirates, is well underway.
Upon completion, the Etihad Rail network, which will cater to both freight and passengers, will span approximately 1,200 kilometres across the Emirates. It will connect urban and peripheral communities, facilitate trade, open up communication channels and foster economic development across all Emirates in the UAE. 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.