Etihad Rail – the developer of the UAE’s national railway network – has signed a joint venture with DB Schenker Rail, a subsidiary of German-based Deutsche Bahn (DB), to operate and maintain the railway.

MEED reported last July that DB had formed the JV with the UAE rail operator.

The new company, Etihad Rail DB, will manage operations for stage one of the Etihad Rail network, transporting granulated sulphur from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais. Two trains will transport 22,000 metric tonnes of sulphur per day.

Etihad Rail DB, which will be led by its chairman Mattar Al-Tayer, will initially provide railway operations and maintenance expertise for stage one, and will later act as a consultant for the operations of the future stages of the Etihad Rail network.

“Deutsche Bahn and DB Schenker Rail are the ideal partners to help spearhead a successful, modern railway for the UAE for generations to come,” said Nasser Alsowaidi, chairman of Etihad Rail. “Facilitating knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices, the joint venture – Etihad Rail DB – is a very positive step forward for Etihad Rail, furthering our commitment to provide the UAE with a world-class, modern, integrated and efficient rail network that will drive economic growth and social development.”

The Etihad Rail network is planned to cover 1,200 kilometres, connecting UAE’s major ports, industrial zones and cities. It will eventually form part of a wider GCC railway network, planned to connect all the GCC states.