UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan has issued a federal decree restructuring the Etihad Rail board of directors, which will be chaired Dhiyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, currently chairman of the Abu Dhabi Transport Ministry and member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

The newly appointed board members, each having a tenure of three years, include:

  • Mattar Mohammed al-Tayer, director-general and chairman, Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA)
  • Falah al-Ahbabi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council
  • Abdullah Salem al-Kathiri, director-general of the Federal Authority for Land & Marine Transport
  • Mohammed Saeed al-Dhanhani, director of the Fujairah Emiri Diwan
  • Saeed Rashid al-Yatim, assistant under-secretary for resources and budget affairs at the Ministry of Finance
  • Arif Obaid al-Dehail, CEO of the Department of Planning & Development – Trakhees
  • Yousef Saleh al-Suwaijee, chairman of the Sharjah Roads & Transport Authority
  • Mohammed Ibrahim al-Mell, assistant under-secretary for housing and urban planning at the Ministry of Infrastructure Development

This is the latest major move involving the administration and operations of Etihad Rail, the authority established to oversee the development of the federal railway network. In January 2016, it suspended the procurement for Stage 2 of the 1,200-kilometre national railway, following a 30 per cent employee reduction.

MEED earlier reported that Abu Dhabi has been re-engaging with stakeholders for the design and route alignment for the upcoming phases of Etihad Rail.

This includes the rail project’s second stage, for which procurement was suspended in early 2016.

It is understood a meeting took place in November last year, where senior officials at the Abu Dhabi-based Federal Transport Authority (FTA) and Fujairah Municipality primarily discussed the need for minor revisions to the current route alignment for Stage 3, which will link the railway to Fujairah as well as Ras al-Khaimah and Sharjah.

This followed a meeting with stakeholders held in late 2016.

However, neither the FTA nor Etihad Rail has officially confirmed reviving the procurement process for Stage 2 so far.

MEED understands securing funding remains a key issue for the succeeding phases of the scheme.

The main package for the 628km Stage 2 has been tendered twice. Two groups were believed to have been shortlisted in the first tender. They include:

  • Salini Impregilo (Italy) / Samsung C&T (South Korea) / Tristar (local)
  • China Railway Construction Company (China ) / Ghantoot Group (local)

Based on the original design, Stage 2 will connect the railway to Mussafah, to the ports in Abu Dhabi and Jebel Ali, and to the Saudi and Omani borders.

Etihad Rail, formerly known as Union Railway, was established in 2009.

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, from where it is being exported.

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