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Abu Dhabi to swap trucks for trains

Rail network to be used for waste transportation across the country

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi will replace trucks with the upcoming rail network for waste transportation to reduce carbon emissions caused by trucks in the emirate.

Etihad Rail — the master developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway network — on Monday announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Centre of Waste Management–Abu Dhabi (CWM).

The agreement will see CWM use the Etihad Rail network as a vital component in its future sustainable waste transport system, integrating the network into its plans to convert waste into energy and centralise its services and facilities. The use of rail in waste management systems is a strategic part of the infrastructure of many major cities worldwide.

Upon completion, the Etihad Rail network — which will cater to both freight and passengers — will cover an estimated 1,200 km across the UAE.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Nasser Saif Al Mansouri, CEO of Etihad Rail, and Mohammad Rashid Al Hameli, General Manager of the CWM.

The use of the Etihad Rail network will drastically reduce CWM’s transport requirements by trucks, thereby lowering carbon emissions. Rail also offers a more cost-effective transport solution.

The rail network will facilitate the centralisation of landfills managed by the CWM into a single site. It will also help linking that site to transfer stations located throughout the Emirate and to the planned CWM plant that will be used to convert waste into energy.

Etihad Rail had announced that a minimum of 40 per cent of the company’s aggregates are of recycled construction and demolition waste.

Nearly 750,000 tons of recycled construction and demolition wastes will be used in the phase one of the Etihad Railway Network, minimising environmental impact,a spokesperson of the CWM said. This will save 5 million kilometres of truck transportation on the UAE roads,that is equal to 125 trips round the Earth.

These recycled construction and demolition waste will be supplied from Al Dhafra recycling facility, which is being built and managed by Thiess Services Middle East (TSME), under a contract with the CMW. The facility can process up to 600 tonnes per hour of raw construction and demolition waste into high quality recycled aggregates,steel and wood derived fuel. The plant recycles more than 98 per cent of materials entering the site by weight.

Al Mansouri said: “It is globally recognised that a sustainable, environmentally responsible society requires an efficient and environmentally-friendly method to manage waste, with major cities such as London, New York and Sydney using rail as an essential part of their waste management infrastructure. Etihad Rail trains will help facilitate this for CWM.”

Al Hameli said the agreement with Etihad Rail comes to solidify the centre’s efforts to achieve an effective collaboration with our strategic partners in the aim of creating sustainable programmes for managing and recycling of waste,leading to social and environmental benefits.

The rail network will connect urban and remote communities, facilitate trade, open up communication channels and foster economic development. The network will also form a vital part of the GCC Railway Network — linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghuwaifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east. Construction work on stage one, which links Shah and Habshan to Ruwais, is well under way, and the tendering process is already in progress for stage two, which will connect the railway to Mussafah, Khalifa and Jebel Ali ports and the Saudi and Omani borders.