A $3 billion joint venture company, Oman-Etihad Rail Company, will be established by the sultanate’s national developer, Oman Rail, and UAE rail network developer Etihad Rail to design, develop, and run a railway network connecting Sohar Port to the UAE national rail network.
In accordance with this agreement, Oman-Etihad Rail shall establish the project’s structure and work schedule, as well as its funding sources.
In accordance with the regulations of the two nations, the business will also manage the design, development, and management of the rail network between Sohar and Abu Dhabi.
According to a statement from Oman Rail, this significant joint venture is an augmentation of the long-standing partnership between Oman Rail and Etihad Rail. The two companies share a desire to open up new opportunities in the infrastructure, transportation, and logistics sectors by connecting the two nations via rail.
Engineer Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, and Engineer Abdulrahman Salim Al Hatmi, Group CEO of Asyad, both represented Oman Rail, a division of the Asyad Group, during the signing event.
Underlining the impact of this landmark agreement, Al Hatmi said: “Adding a new railway capability to our logistics sector will offer trade and logistics companies outstanding investment opportunities and empower manufacturing and industrial activities to quickly expand beyond borders.”
“The envisioned network will complement our comprehensive set of ports and logistics assets, augment our competitiveness and open faster access to global markets,” he stated.
With the finest worldwide safety, security, and environmental standards, the 303-km railway will principally connect Sohar to Abu Dhabi and will offer faster and safer passenger and freight services.
With a top speed of 200 km/h, the passenger trains are intended to cut the trip times from Sohar to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain to 1 hour 40 minutes, and 47 minutes, respectively. The freight trains will travel up to 120 km/h in the meantime.
Etihad and Oman Rail to unlock new opportunities
According to him, the two sides want to increase trade and social cohesion, connect important metropolitan centers, make it easier for people to move between communities, and offer seamless transportation options between economic and industrial zones in Oman and the UAE.
On the economic benefits and opportunities, Al Hatmi said: “Employing cutting-edge transport and rail technology, the new Oman-UAE network will boost the growth of the national economy in both countries. It will also improve the efficiency of the supply chain, facilitate cross-border trade by linking commercial ports to the railway network as well as enhance market competitiveness and cut the total cost of supply chains.”
According to the top Omani official, the railway would offer a variety of investment opportunities and support contracts to the private sector, with numerous stakeholders expected to benefit from this massive project.
According to him, the new transportation system will usher in a new era of innovation, expand employment opportunities across industries, and strengthen both nations’ national human capital.
In a wider sense, the initiative will promote travel between Oman and the UAE, boost the two nations’ competitiveness in international trade, and reinforce their roles as logistical hubs for import and export to regional markets, he continued.
According to Malak, the new alliance with Oman Rail is in accordance with the goals and strategies of the UAE’s leadership. It marks the beginning of a new era of cooperation and prosperity between the two nations.
“The agreement outlines a strategic roadmap for a sustainable project which will contribute to bolstering the solid relations between the UAE and Oman, and will play an instrumental role in facilitating national and regional trade by connecting the UAE national rail network with Sohar Port,” he added.