Etihad Rail has nearly finished evaluating bids for the second phase of its $11-billion railway and is awaiting approval to launch full commercial operations of the project.
In line with the phased construction of the 1,200-km railway, the company said its immediate focus is now “predominantly on the commencement of commercial operations on Stage One and the start of delivery on Stage Two”.
John Thomas, regulatory affairs advisor at Etihad Rail, said: “Construction of the 264-km Stage One line running between sources at Shah and Habshan, to the point of export at Ruwais in the western region of Abu Dhabi has been completed and our partner Etihad Rail DB has transported more than 2.5 million tonnes of sulphur since September last year during the trial phases.
Covering 628 km, Stage Two will involve the completion of the rail network in the Abu Dhabi emirate by connecting to the Saudi border at Ghweifat and the Omani border at Al Ain, and by connecting vital areas such as Mussaffah, Khalifa Port and Jebel Ali Port in Dubai.
Preliminary design and engineering for Stage Two have been completed and the tender process for six construction packages is in the final stages of evaluation.
“We are currently in the final stages of the evaluation process and recommendations will be presented to board before the end of 2015. The final approval on the contract awards will then be given by our Abu Dhabi and federal government shareholders,” said Thomas.
Once completed the network will provide both passenger and freight services.