EXCLUSIVE: French firm wins work on UAE's Etihad railway

14 May 2018
Contract covers programme management for Etihad railway network's stage 2 and 3

French engineering consultancy Egis Group has won the programme management consultancy (PMC) contract for stages 2 and 3 of the UAE’s federal Etihad railway network, sources familiar with the project tell MEED.

MEED understands these two stages of the railway network will extend the existing 264-kilometre track by 600km in stage 2 and 250 km in stage 3 by 2024.

The 1,200km Etihad Railway will connect Abu Dhabi’s Ghuweifat region to Fujairah.

It is expected to connect to the Saudi rail network and Oman to form a major segment of the GCC railway network by 2024.

Etihad Rail, the client, received bids for the PMC contract for the next stage of the network on 1 April and bids for the engineering design contract on 7 May.

Firms understood to have been invited to bid for both packages, in addition to Egis, include:

  • Aecom (UK)
  • Arup (UK)
  • Atkins (UK)
  • CH2M/ Jacobs Engineering (US)
  • Parsons (US)
  • Systra (France)
  • WSP (Canada)

Construction work for stage 2 of Etihad Rail was tendered before and cancelled.

The project is expected to move ahead this time after the UAE Cabinet approved the country’s first railway law that provides the basis for the future development of the country’s railway infrastructure.

In addition to specifying safety standards, the legislation aims to encourage private sector participation in the financing and provision of rail operation and management services.

The 264km first phase of the 1,200km Etihad Rail network has been operational since late 2015.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is the offtaker for the railway’s first stage, which is used mainly to transport granulated sulphur from Shah and Habshan to the Mirfa depot in Ruwais for export.

Stage 2 will extend the line from Ruwais to Abu Dhabi’s Mussafah area and Khalifa Port, and onward to Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port.

This alignment is consistent with using the rail network to improve internal trade and logistics connectivity, as confirmed by UAE Infrastructure Development Minister Abdulla Belhaif al-Nuaimi.

Stage 3 is expected to link Dubai and Abu Dhabi to the Northern Emirates.

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