Abu Dhabi: Etihad Rail signed four Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with international companies SNCF International, France's national state-owned railway company; Alstom, a global leader in the green and smart mobility sector; Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, one of the world’s largest integrated and diversified suppliers of railroad and transit products and services worldwide, and Thales Group, a global leader in advanced technologies that provides its customers in the defence, aeronautics, space, transport, and digital identity and security domains with innovative and state-to-the-art solutions, services and products.
The signing of the agreements took place in InnoTrans 2022, the leading international trade fair for transport technology, which was held in Berlin, Germany from 20-23 September 2022. The agreements, which were signed by officials from both sides, aim to support the UAE’s economic development by driving the growth of the rail industry in the UAE and the region, and cover key areas which include rail operations and maintenance, service facilities, passenger stations, and cargo transportation, while ensuring the integration of the latest technologies, the exchange of knowledge and expertise, and investing in research and development.
Ahmed Al Musawa, Executive Director of Passenger Sector at Etihad Rail, said: “Our partners play a key role in supporting us to achieve our mission of developing and operating a rail network that incorporates state-of-the-art technologies, and provides safe, sustainable, and reliable solutions.”
He added: “Through partnering with some of the biggest names in the rail, cargo, and transportation industry, we assure our clients that we are developing the UAE National Rail Network as per the highest international standards, to meet their requirements and support them in meeting their business objectives, driving a sustainable, resilient, and cost-effective supply chain.”
Under the terms of the MoU between Etihad Rail and SNCF International, the two parties will collaborate and explore opportunities in different areas of mutual interest. These areas include railway operations; train maintenance; workshops and training sessions; design, development and operations rail projects in the UAE; supply and maintenance of railway rolling stock; mobility and integration solutions between various modes of transport; station services and facilities, among others.
Diego Diaz, President of SNCF International, said: “We believe rail transport is the foundation of a sustainable mobility. SNCF International salutes the commitment of Etihad Rail with their ambitious and major projects for rail transport. We are looking forward to this cooperation.”
The MoU between Etihad Rail and Alstom centres on the integration of advanced technologies and services in the railway industry. As part of the MoU, the two parties will collaborate in areas, which include: Railway innovations, from incubation to commercialisation, including innovative sustainability in the field of train technology; mobility and integration solutions between various modes of transport; the performance of the railway, and system’s life cycle performance. Etihad Rail and Alstom will also work collaboratively on a first and last-mile strategy; digitalisation of mobility (MaaS system implementation, logical systems/IT architecture, cybersecurity); testing and commissioning, operation and maintenance; rolling stock configuration and facilities; the development of a learning ecosystem; local industrialisation, as well as other areas of interest.
“We are delighted to be collaborating with Etihad Rail as they build a strong transport ecosystem for the UAE and the region. Together, we will focus on the digitalization of the railway sector to optimize operations, maintenance, and enhance customer experience for the passenger service. In addition, we will help the transition to zero-emission solutions, with a focus on green tractions including solutions for innovative and sustainable mobility”, said Mama Sougoufara, Alstom’s Managing Director for the MENAT region (Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey).
The MoU with Thales also places a major focus on the digitisation of Etihad Rail’s services. Under the terms of the MoU, the two parties will collaborate in various areas, which include: New generation rail control; European Train Control System (ETSC) Level 3; driver advisory system; intelligent traffic operation; asset management; real time passenger flow; data driven operation control centre; video analytics; connectivity and passenger entertainment system; booking and ticketing system, and mobility and integration solutions between various modes of transport.
Millar Crawford, Executive Vice-President of Ground Transportation Systems Thales, said: “We are very pleased to sign this MoU with Etihad Rail. This new partnership demonstrates the key partner role played by Thales throughout the world to help its customers meet the challenges they have to face. It proves also the high recognition of Thales expertise in rail domain.”
In addition, the MoU with Progress Rail aims to discuss areas of cooperation to support sustainability in the railway industry through discussing potential opportunities for the development and deployment of an autonomous, zero-emissions port-to-port concept, which could serve as the foundation for future rail operations globally.
“Progress Rail is committed to providing sustainable solutions for customers like Etihad Rail,” commented Marty Haycraft, president and CEO of Progress Rail. “The foundational suite of technologies we are developing will serve railroads around the world with their decarbonization journey.”
Etihad Rail was one of the key exhibitors in “InnoTrans 2022”, among other exhibitors in the railway and transportation sectors. With a stand covering 1,058 sqm, the company showcased the latest updates in the development of the UAE National Rail Network. InnoTrans is the leading international trade fair for transport technology and takes places every two years in Berlin.