Etihad Rail plays a central role in the UAE’s plan to diversify its economy and position itself as a hub for inter-regional and international trade.

The rail network forms part of the UAE’s plans as set out in its National Charter 2021 and Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030, which both call for a shift to a diversified and knowledge-based economy.

The government has set a target for the gross domestic product contribution of non-oil sectors to rise to above 60 per cent by 2030. Transportation and logistics are highlighted as strategic industry sectors to be developed.

Increased activity on the Etihad Rail project suggests that the UAE is well on its way to creating a more diversified economy. However, the success of the federal rail network will also rest on how it can be integrated with the wider GCC network.

This will rely on close cooperation between the rail authorities of the GCC countries on issues such as track guages, operational planning and customs and immigration procedures.