“Ours is a world of looming challenges and increasingly limited resources. Sustainable development offers the best chance to adjust our course.” (Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations)
According to the United Nations, transport is responsible for 23% of global energy related greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Promoting sustainable transport is thus crucial to address climate change. In this spirit, Etihad Rail, developers of the UAE’s national railway network, defines its mission as “to develop and operate safe, sustainable and cost-efficient rail transport solutions, connecting the UAE and serving clients, industries and society”.
One of the Most Environmentally Friendly Modes of Transport
According to a 2016 report by the British Department for Transport, “each tonne of freight transported by rail reduces carbon emissions by 76 per cent compared to road and each freight train removes 43 to 76 lorries from the roads.” Etihad Rail plans that the UAE railway will eventually reduce GHG emissions by more than 2.2 million tonnes every year. This compares to removing 375,000 vehicles off the roads.
And by diminishing the number of lorries on the road, the development of rail transport will improve safety, traffic fluidity and reduce road maintenance. This will, of course, be beneficial for the environment and for the economy as well. Indeed, a UN report on Sustainable Transport describes congestion as a “tremendous burden on the economy”: 2 to 5% of GDP in Asia.
From Ghuweifat to Fujairah
Stage One of the rail network has already been successfully delivered and has been operational since 2016. The route spreads over 264 km and enables the transport of granulated Sulphur from sources at Shah and Habshan to the processing and export point at Ruwais. The quantity of granulated Sulphur transported in one day can reach 22,000 tonnes.
Stage Two will extend the network by a further 605 kilometres, from Ghuweifat, in the west, to Fujairah, on the east coast. In addition to offering freight services, Etihad Rail is planning on providing passenger services at some point in the future.
Established in 2018, AM Infra, a company of Al Mazroui Group, is currently involved in the maintenance of the railway and its trains. It offers products and services for the transportation sector in the UAE and the Gulf region by acting as agent, representative, supplier and subcontractor for prominent European companies.
AM Infra offers different services such as cleaning systems and infrastructure consulting. The company also supplies different kinds of materials, including track maintenance machinery, slab track systems, bufferstops, ballast mats and sleeper pads.