Passenger trains will link the two countries in a commercial breakthrough, supporting future sustainable projects, according to Etihad Rail chief executive

High-speed rail will link Oman and United Arab Emirates

PHOTO/FILE - Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates

On the sidelines of last Tuesday's meeting between Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates, and Haitham bin Tariq al-Said, Sultan of Oman, Oman Rail, the Sultanate's national rail network developer and operator, signed an agreement with Etihad Rail, developer of the UAE's national rail network, to jointly establish an equally owned company called the Oman-Etihad Rail Company. Under the agreement, the new company will lay the groundwork and roadmap for the high-speed rail project linking the Omani and Emirati territories, including its financial mechanisms and timetable.

With multiple stakeholders set to reap the benefits of this mega-project, the railway will provide a wealth of investment opportunities and support contracts for the private sector. The new transport system will create job opportunities in all sectors, develop the national human capital of both countries and usher in a new era of innovation.

The Omani Sultanate invested $3 billion in this case. Both Abu Dhabi and Muscat have already reached more than 16 agreements of all kinds, covering economic, commercial and cultural issues, but mainly pacts related to cooperation in transport, logistics and investment in terms of industry.  Both sides aim to unlock new opportunities by strengthening trade and social cohesion, connecting key urban centres, facilitating travel between communities and providing seamless transport solutions between economic and industrial zones in both countries.

Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, said: "In line with the vision and directives of our wise leadership, we are delighted to begin this partnership with Oman Rail, which announces a new chapter of collaboration and prosperity between the two countries. The agreement outlines a strategic roadmap for a sustainable project that will help strengthen the strong relationship between the UAE and Oman, and will play a key role in facilitating national and regional trade by connecting the UAE's national rail network with the port of Sohar."

"The railway also promises huge strategic economic and social gains as it promotes a more diverse robust national economy, enhances infrastructure and logistics services, boosts 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," added Abdulrahman al-Hatmi, director of Oman Rail.

The new railway line will be more than 1,200 kilometres long, connecting eleven cities and areas across the UAE from the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah in the north. The project will begin with a first freight line connecting the city of Abu Dhabi with the port of Sohar in northern Muscat, Oman.

The route will be 303 kilometres long and take 1 hour and 40 minutes, as part of the joint project that contributes to diversifying the national economy, connecting population and industrial centres between the UAE and Oman, developing infrastructure and quality of life, creating job opportunities, strengthening and organising the logistics sector, and improving the performance of the tourism services sector.

UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed and Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said after meetings on Tuesday shared a vision of a secure and stable region that promotes sustainable development and supports a thriving economy