Funding for railway link UAE – Saudi Arabia
The national railway network of the UAE is to be further expanded with the signing of a financial agreement last week. The funding will support the construction of phase two of the project: the link between Fujeirah and Saudi Arabia.
The project envisaging a national railway network connecting the UAE to its neighbouring countries has been stalled for the last two years due to financial and technical difficulties. The funding for the second phase of the project has now been secured, said Etihad Rail, developer and operator of the railway network. The UAE Ministry of Finance and the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance sealed the deal on 27 November.
The second phase of the project will see the realisation of a 605 kilometre railway link from Ghuweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to the emirate of Fujairah, on the east coast. On route, it will link to Mussafah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port.
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The preliminary designs for phase two have been completed and tenders for construction work will be launched by end of this month, Etihad Rail said. The line is expected to be completed in 2024 and should increase the volume of freight carried from 7 million tonnes per year to more than 50 million tonnes.
The national railway network should eventually expand over 1,200 kilometres. The first part is already operative, comprising of 264 kilometre of railway from Shah and Habshan near Abu Dhabi to Ruwais. Here, granulated sulphur from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is transported for export.
In the next phase, the northern emirates will be linked with Dubai Central, Port Saqr and Khor Fakkan, adding another 250 kilometre of railway to the country. Egis has been appointed the project management for stages 2 and 3, and Jacobs Engineering tthe engineering and design services.