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ABU DHABI: Etihad Rail has taken another step in the development of the UAE’s national rail network, as the first batch of the company’s fleet of new and advanced rolling stock arrives in the UAE.

The locomotives and wagons have reached the UAE via the ports of Zayed and Al-Musaffah and will operate across the network once it is completed.

The feat was announced at an event hosted by Etihad Rail in Al-Mirfa town in Abu Dhabi.

The event brought together Etihad Rail CEO Shadi Malak, Progress Rail CEO Marty Haycraft and CRRC Executive Director MENA Henry Pang, along with a number of other senior officials.

“The arrival of the new fleet of locomotives and wagons in the UAE on schedule reflects the level of achievements that the Etihad Rail project is making in developing the UAE’s national rail network,” said Mohammed Al Marzouqi, Executive Director of Relations railways. sector at Etihad Rail, said.

The national rail network is part of Etihad Rail’s efforts to meet the objectives of the United Arab Emirates Railways program, the largest land transportation system of its kind in the United Arab Emirates.

The program was launched as part of the Projects of 50, the largest collection of national strategic projects aimed at establishing a new phase of development across the UAE for the next 50 years.

It aims to establish a new roadmap for the transport of goods and passengers by rail across the country, thereby developing a sustainable land transport system that connects cities in the United Arab Emirates by rail.

The company plans to expand its fleet to 45 heavy-haul locomotives, six times the size of its current fleet.

Progress Rail, a US-based subsidiary of Caterpillar and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of diesel and electric locomotives, will manufacture and supply the new EMD SD70 diesel electric locomotives.

“Our EMD SD70 diesel-electric locomotives meet the highest global standards. Etihad Rail’s new fleet is a great example of what our customers expect from our advanced locomotives, designed to operate in extreme conditions,” said Haycraft.

The company’s new fleet aims to house more than 1,000 multi-purpose railcars, three times the size of its current fleet.

China’s CRRC Group, one of the world’s leading providers of sustainability solutions for the rail industry, will manufacture and supply the new railcar fleet.

“The CRRC is delighted to be a partner in the second stage of the UAE National Rail Network, contributing to the growth of Etihad Rail, the UAE and the region by supporting the development of the rail industry,” said Ben Quak, managing director of CRRC UAE.

“We are delighted to see the successful delivery of the multi-purpose wagons, which will help reduce carbon emissions and provide safe, sustainable and efficient services,” Quak said.

“Once completed and fully operational, the network will help revitalize and enhance the economic growth of the UAE, especially over the next 50 years, by providing reliable and safe freight services with high efficiency,” said Al-Marzouqi.

The Executive Director said: “The network will also contribute to the economic growth of the region as it connects with the Gulf Cooperation Council network, which will cement the UAE’s position as a regional and global hub for shipping and logistics services. This achievement is part of the company’s preparations to operate the network to the highest global standards in the future.

“We have ensured that the company’s new fleet is among the most modern in the region and in the world, offering the highest safety criteria in terms of design, guaranteeing the best specifications in terms of durability and protection of environment, and incorporating the latest technologies for train operation and monitoring.

“We have also ensured that the fleet is suited to the local geography and climate of the UAE and the region and meets the current and future needs of Etihad Rail’s customers, including industrial companies, shipping lines , construction material suppliers, quarries and more.”

Etihad Rail’s new fleet has been designed to withstand the geography, climate, high temperatures and humidity levels of the GCC region, ensuring the highest levels of performance, efficiency and sustainability.

The fleet is expected to improve the UAE’s transport and logistics service system, strengthening the country’s position in the logistics sector regionally and internationally. It will increase the capacity of the national rail network of the United Arab Emirates to more than 60 million tons of goods per year.

Etihad Rail’s new fleet will also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 70-80%.

Jose C. Birney