|Abu Dhabi: Union Railway, which plans to build a nationwide rail network in the UAE, it had held a workshop in Abu Dhabi with participation from more than 360 local, regional and international companies to kick-off phase one of the landmark project.|
The workshop represents a strategic and important step in the establishment of the railway. It is a precursor to a formal process to invite proposals and tenders for the project's execution, Union Railway said.
Union Railway discussed project details and timelines, as well as the contract and procurement strategies for the first phase of the rail project.
That the strong attendance reflected the confidence of the international business community in the investment climate of the UAE.
Union Railway had previously estimated it will cost up to Dh30 billion to build a nationwide network of railways by 2016, with a track length of almost 1,400 kilometres.
If everything proceeds smoothly, the proposed Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) railway network, stretching 2,000 kilometres from the Kuwait-Iraq border to Oman, will come online in 2017.
Union Railway aims to connect the UAE to Oman and Saudi Arabia. It will provide two routes with alternative access to the Indian Ocean.
The railway will also connect to Saudi Arabia through the Ghuwaifat border and greater GCC and Middle East and North Africa (Mena) regions.
Union Railway expects to transport 30 million tonnes of bulk and break bulk by 2015. At present, rail transport in Saudi Arabia is managed by the Saudi Railway Organisation, which provides freight services on three main lines totalling 1,018 kilometres.