ETIHAD Rail has signed an agreement with petrochemical company Borouge to transport 1.3 million tonnes of polyolefins annually by rail from the petrochemical complex in Al Ruways Industrial City in the west of the UAE for export.

The agreement will reduce the time it takes to move Borouge’s products from 12 hours to four. It effectively establishes the company as one of Etihad Rail’s leading clients as the UAE national railway closes in on completion of the second phase of its 1200km network.

Etihad Rail says 60% of available annual capacity is already reserved by various clients.

The deal also includes the construction of a new rail freight terminal in Al Ruways Industrial City, which will extend over 100ha. The facility will be used for loading and unloading, storage and maintenance of shipping containers.

The agreement was signed by Mr Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, and Mr Hazeem Sultan Al Suwaidi, CEO of Borouge, in the presence of members of Etihad Rail and Borouge’s board of directors, along with Etihad Rail chairman, Sheikh Theyab Bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“This strategic partnership comes in line with Etihad Rail's efforts to provide logistics solutions to some of the country’s largest companies, where they can transport goods through the rail network at reduced costs and time,” Zayed Al Nahyan says. “In doing so, Etihad Rail also contributes to reducing carbon emissions, in line with the objectives of the UAE.”

Zayed Al Nahyan also chaired a meeting with private sector representatives, which explored ways they might benefit from Etihad Rail’s rail freight services and the development of an integrated transport system.

He announced the formation of a strategic advisory committee to help the private sector to benefit from the Etihad Rail network. Etihad Rail says the committee will place a particular emphasis on exploring first and last mile transport options to support growth of the rail network for existing and prospective customers.