Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE National Rail Network, has announced the successful completion of the connection between the railway freight terminal at the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD), which is the largest inland freight railway terminal in the country, and the UAE National Rail Network. The Company completed tracklaying works and conducting successful tests on the new line, which extends from the borders of Saudi Arabia to the port of Fujairah, on the eastern coast, passing through key manufacturing hubs and urban centres.

This achievement comes in line with the goals of the UAE Railway Programme, which is the largest integrated system for transporting goods and passengers across the country. The programme aims to connect the country’s key centres of industry and production, open new trade routes and facilitate population movement.

Upon the completion of Stage Two of the UAE National Rail Network, Etihad Rail will provide logistics solutions from the railway terminal, which is located at the heart of the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi, burgeoning hub of industrial companies in the area.

Mohammed Al Marzouqi, Executive Director of Rail Relations Sector at Etihad Rail, said: “Connecting the railway freight terminal at ICAD with Etihad Rail’s main line ensures our readiness to start providing our clients with logistics solutions by linking Abu Dhabi with various industrial centres and import and export points. This milestone brings us closer to achieving our goal of providing an integrated transport system that connects the industrial and manufacturing centres with freight terminals and ports across the emirates. The strategic location of the ICAD railway freight terminal will also drive value for all our customers as it is the largest indoor railway freight terminal in the UAE.”

“We are proud of this achievement, which supports our efforts to encourage companies to restructure their logistical operations and opt for rail logistics solutions, thereby cutting costs, increasing efficiency, and providing safer transportation of goods. This is exemplified by the trade agreements that we have made with some of the biggest companies in the UAE, such as Stevin Rock LLC, Western Bainoona Group, and Al Ghurair Iron & Steel LLC. Our network will have a positive impact on end users, as it will contribute to reducing trucks on roads and bring down their maintenance costs. It will further drive the sustainable development that we are witnessing across the UAE, by enabling a positive socioeconomic impact on industry, commerce, the environment, and more,” he added.

Largest inland railway freight terminal in the UAE

Etihad Rail is constructing the largest inland railway freight terminal in the UAE in ICAD, spanning just over 2.7 million square feet, the new railway freight terminal at will comprise over 22 buildings and major structures to support operations, processing up to nine trains each day.

It will facilitate the distribution of goods across the countries of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and UAE, where it will connect quarries in the northern emirates to industrial centres in the Musaffah area, in addition to connecting Ruwais, Khalifa Port and the container companies in Dubai within Jebel Ali Port. The containers will be hauled by rail to and from other freight facilities following a road journey to the end-user location.

The railway freight terminal will act as a logistics hub for heavy industries enabling a seamless distribution of raw materials and machinery for manufacturers, in addition to facilitating better connections to vital trade infrastructure, such as ports. It will also offer customs services, which will make ICAD tenants more competitive.

Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the new railway freight terminal will offer a range of competitive advantages for businesses, at the highest levels of efficiency in terms of transport costs and sustainability. When fully operational, the ICAD railway freight terminal will foster a more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable transportation capacity, and process over 15 million tonnes of loose raw materials, 1.5 tonnes of general cargo, and around 116,600 20-foot shipping containers annually.

The development of the ICAD railway freight terminal features as a part of Stage Two of the UAE’s national railway network. The historic project extends from Al on the borders of Saudi Arabia to the emirate of Fujairah, on the eastern coast. Upon completion, Stage Two of the GCC’s railway network will integrate the nation’s ports, manufacturing hubs, and urban centres.