The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is offering to provide financing and export credit for the UAE’s $11bn Union Railway project.

“ICBC stood ready and willing to support Chinese companies bidding for contracts on Union Railway by offering a combined “tender with finance” approach,” says Richard Bowker, chief executive officer, Union Railway.

No deals, however, on the railway project have yet been tendered, including any financing deals.

In May, China’s Railways Ministry signed a deal with the UAE to plan, develop and build the railway network (MEED 19:5:10).

The first phase of the railway involves the construction of a 264-kilometre line connecting the Shah gas field in the south of the emirate with oil and gas processing and distribution facilities at the port of Ruwais in the north.

The route will be for freight transport initially although Union Railway is also planning passenger services.

The 1,500-kilometre network will eventually include rail lines extending from Abu Dhabi’s Western region through the UAE’s other emirates: Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah and Ajman.

The railway will connect the UAE to Saudi Arabia from Ghweifat city in the west and will connect to Oman through Al-Ain in the east and will form part of the wider 2,177-kilometre GCC railway.