Etihad Rail is targeting the container freight flow business once phase two of its planned rail network is complete.

John Lesniewski, director of sales and commercial agreements at Etihad Rail, told delegates at MEED’s Mena Rail Projects 2012 conference in Abu Dhabi on 16 October, that phase two of the rail network will aim to carry a portion of the container freight traffic currently transported by sea.

He said that as Dubai’s port Jebel Ali grows, the rail network will be able to take a small proportion of the port’s feeder vessel traffic, without having a negative impact on the port’s business. Transporting containers by rail rather than by feeder vessels would be purely an alternative option, he added.

The line connecting Ghweifat to Jebel Ali is expected to carry 90 trains a week, while the line connecting Ghweifat to Sharjah is set to transport 20 trains a week. The lines connecting Fujairah up to the Northern emirates are also intended to carry container trains. One intermodal train has a capacity of 260 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

Phase two of the rail network is currently still out to tender.