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Oman Rail and the UAE’s Etihad Rail have signed an agreement to jointly establish an equally-owned company known as Oman-Etihad Rail Company.
The agreement is the latest update to the GCC Rail Project, which was given fresh impetus with the signing of the Al-Ula declaration in early 2021.
A statement released by Etihad Rail said the new company will hold an overall investment power of $3bn to design, develop and operate a railway network connecting Sohar Port to the UAE national rail network.
The 303-kilometre-long railway will primarily link Sohar to Abu Dhabi. The passenger trains are designed to reduce travel time from Sohar to Abu Dhabi to 1 hour 40 minutes, and from Sohar to Al-Ain to 47 minutes, travelling at a maximum speed of 200 km/hour. The freight trains will run at up to 120 km/h.
Oman-Etihad Rail will plan the project, including its financial mechanisms and schedule. The company will also handle the design, development and operation of the rail network based on the standards of the two countries.
Oman Rail is part of the Asyad Group. Abdulrahman Salim al-Hatmi, Group CEO of Asyad, said: “Adding a new railway capability to our logistics sector will offer trade and logistics companies outstanding investment opportunities and empower manufacturing and industrial activities to quickly expand beyond borders.
"The envisioned network will complement our comprehensive set of ports and logistics assets, augment our competitiveness and open faster access to global markets.
“The railway also promises huge strategic economic and social gains as it promotes a more diverse robust national economy, upgrades infrastructure and logistic services, drives forward travel and tourism, and ultimately improves the quality of life for communities on both sides of the borders by supporting the various strategic initiatives of the governments of Oman and the UAE,” Al Hatmi added.
Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, said: “In line with the vision and directives of our wise leadership, we are delighted to start this partnership with Oman Rail, which heralds a new chapter of collaboration and prosperity between both countries.
"The agreement outlines a strategic roadmap for a sustainable project, which will contribute to bolstering the solid relations between the UAE and Oman, and will play an instrumental role in facilitating national and regional trade by connecting the UAE National Rail Network with Sohar Port.”
In early April, Oman's Ministry of Housing & Urban Planning announced plans to start compensating citizens affected by the construction of an upcoming rail line in Buraimi governorate.
The ministry has issued a notice for property owners affected by the railway project in the wilayats of Buraimi. "The citizens whose properties are affected should review it and bring the original passport and original title deed of the property to the ministry during the official working days," reported the local English language newspaper Muscat Daily.
A link connecting the UAE and Oman has been planned before. Etihad Rail removed a link to Oman from construction contracts it was tendering in 2015.
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