Both companies signed a joint venture agreement during the 17th edition of the transport event, Middle East Rail. The deal aims at replacing road transportation by using rail services within the UAE, instead. Pressure will be taken off trucking, and trade within the Gulf region boosted according to the officials of the United Arab Emirates during the signing ceremony. The more prominent role of rail freight also helps the United Arab Emirates meet their environmental targets.
The cooperation agreement was preceded, on 23FEB23, by the launch of a 900 km long rail link stretching all across the Arabian Peninsula. This ambitious development project is one of the largest infrastructure initiatives in the Gulf region, and aims to link the seven Emirates with a main railway network. “The network contributes to supporting companies' businesses, enhancing investment opportunities,” emphasized Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
From the Saudi Arabian border to the Gulf of Oman
The main line of the UAE National Rail Network extends from Al Ghuweifat on the border crossing to Saudi Arabia, to Fujairah at the Gulf of Oman, forming an essential part of the global supply network. The freight trains will run up to 120 km/h. The standard width of the rail is 1,435 meters, and it operates under the European ETCS level 2 signaling system. It has been specially designed to withstand the geographical nature, climatic conditions, high temperatures and humidity in the states belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), ensuring high levels of performance, efficiency, and sustainability.
The cargo trains will connect 4 major ports. They will serve 7 logistics centers located across the emirates.
Switching from road to rail
At present, the rolling material consists of 38 locomotives and more than 1,000 freight cars capable of transporting a multitude of goods with different dimensions and weights.
Under the terms of the agreement, DHL Global Forwarding has committed to switch from trucking to rail services as one of its primary modes of transportation to distribute goods throughout the UAE. Furthermore, the partnership will strengthen end-to-end logistics and supply chain services for customers in the region, stresses DHL Global Forwarding. That said, the logistics company assures its customers in a press release that its rail freight products offer secure and reliable transportation, and they are also an environmentally friendly alternative to cargo transportation via road or air freight, a media release of Deutsche Post – DHL Global Forwarding underlines.
300 fewer truck-runs
With rail considered to be one of the most sustainable modes of transportation, Etihad Rail is committed to contributing to the UAE's Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, whereby the UAE National Rail Network will contribute to reducing carbon emissions in the road transport sector by 21% by 2050, and each train trip will remove up to 300 trucks off the road, said Dubai ruler, Mr. Rashid Al Maktoum.
Amadou Diallo, CEO Middle East & Africa, DHL Global Forwarding, commented: “DHL Global Forwarding’s decades of expertise in rail and multimodal transport solutions, providing fast, secure, and cost-effective connections, make us the right partner to support the development of the railway industry in the UAE.”
Gottfried Eymer, CEO of Etihad Rail Freight, accentuated around the partnership: “We welcome DHL Global Forwarding as a key partner for Etihad Rail as we embark on fulfilling our ambitious targets. With freight operations taking place since FEB23, Etihad Rail is pleased to introduce further sustainable transport models within the UAE and continue to stimulate economic growth and sustained social development in the region.”
The agreement between Etihad Rail and DHL Global Forwarding is one of the largest collaborations for the transport industry, and showcases the respective organizations’ commitment to the UAE's sustainability agenda, is stated in a joint release.
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