DP World is close to selecting an international consultant to help the port operator develop a rail terminal within Jebel Ali port in Dubai.

The contract is currently out on tender and a decision is expected soon, according to a source.

The terminal is needed to connect with the planned Etihad Railway federal network, which will link Jebel Ali port to a number of other key cities and industrial areas within the UAE.

DP World has already selected a potential plot of land for the terminal close to the port’s Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, which is currently being expanded.

Etihad Rail, the developer of the national railway, and DP World signed a preliminary agreement in May last year, outlining the plans for the rail terminal. At the time of signing, it was envisaged the rail terminal would have a capacity of 5 million 20-foot equivalent units per year.

The Etihad Rail connection to Jebel Ali port is part of phase 2 of the railway project. Construction of phase one is already nearing completion this year, while bids for phase 2 contracts are still being assessed.

Jebel Ali’s role as a regional hub and gateway for cargo into the Middle East and African markets will be further cemented once the rail terminal and Etihad Railway network is complete.