Dubai: Etihad Rail has cut about 30 per cent of its workforce, as Abu Dhabi seeks to trim costs after the slump in the oil.

“We have introduced a restructuring initiative across the company to further streamline our operations as well as our internal procedures and processes,” a company spokesman said in an emailed statement, without disclosing the number of dismissals. “These changes involve a number of staffing adjustments, as we move towards a flatter management structure.”

The Dh40 billion ($11 billion) Etihad Rail network, which will provide both freight and passenger services when completed, will eventually link the six Gulf nations from the UAE to Saudi Arabia through Ghweifat in the west and Oman through Al Ain in the east. Etihad Rail is expected to start awarding contracts for Stage 2 of the project, a 628-kilometre stretch connecting Mussafah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali port as well as to Saudi and Oman.

“The rail links to Oman via Al Ain and to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat remain within the scope of Stage Two, in line with the project mandate,” Etihad Rail said in the statement.

The deadline to complete the Gulf Cooperation Council rail project by 2018 could face delays as some countries have yet to begin laying down track in their national network.