Abu Dhabi: Etihad Rail, the master developer of the 1200- kilometre UAE national railway network connecting the seven emirates with other GCC countries, announced on Monday that it had signed a memo of understanding with Hellmann Logistics. The MoU authorises Hellmann, a Germany-based company, to use the rail network for their needs in the region, Etihad Rail said.

Etihad Rail had so far signed various MoUs with many partners, including HOYER Global Transport BV to support intra-GCC logistics, another with Dubai-based Sharaf Logistics and a third MoU with Global Shipping and Logistics (GSL). Also it had signed a MoU with Sharjah Cement Factoryand with Aramex, the global logistics and transportation solutions provider. Moreover, it had signed a MoU with the Centre of Waste Management ‑ Abu Dhabi and with DP World for the development of an intermodal rail terminal in Jebel Ali Port.

Madhav Kurup, CEO of Hellmann Middle East, said that the MoU with Etihad Rail considers the future expansion plans in the region and the added value of using rail in the UAE and in the other GCC countries.

“Rail is a clear means for us to enhance the efficiency of our services, and we look forward to working with Etihad Rail in doing so,” said Kurup.

For his part, Nasser Al Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail, said that this will facilitate the efficient cross-border transport of goods to Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries.

“Etihad Rail is committed to delivering a safe, efficient, and modern mode of transport at competitive costs and with minimal environmental impact, and we are confident that this will serve Hellmann well during its UAE and GCC expansion,” commented Al Mansoori.

He added that today’s signing is an indicator of the rapid progress in developing the rail network which has been achieved so far at Etihad Rail “as we approach the year-end launch of Stage One.”

Al Mansoori pointed out that Etihad Rail will also have substantial impact on regional transport for both local and international businesses.

Etihad Rail project is estimated to cost Dh40 billion ($10.89 billion), expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018.