OMAN-Etihad Rail, the company developing the 303km railway from the port of Sohar in Oman to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Brazilian mining company Vale.

The MoU was signed in Abu Dhabi on May 13 by Oman-Etihad Rail CEO, Mr Ahmed Al Musawa Al Hashemi, and director of business development at Vale, Mr Rogério Nogueira.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by UAE minister of energy and infrastructure and Oman-Etihad Rail chairman, Mr Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, and the Brazilian ambassador to the UAE, Ms Elaina Zugaib.

Under the terms of the agreement, both parties will work to develop integrated logistics solutions for the transport of iron ore and derivatives from Vale’s industrial complex at the port of Sohar to factories and distribution centres.

Vale has been operating at Sohar since 2011, and establishing its complex at this location has been the largest industrial investment project in Oman.

According to Nogueira, the MoU will support the company’s plans to develop further industrial complexes in the UAE and Oman to produce low-carbon products for the steelmaking industry.

The partnership with Oman-Etihad Rail to develop regional logistics activities is expected to produce high-quality transport solutions and create new job opportunities.

Oman-Etihad Rail has been formed by Oman Rail and Etihad Rail to build the new railway between the two countries, which as well as freight trains operating at up to 120km/h will be used by passenger services operating at up to 200km/h.

Tendering for civil works on the project, including tunnels, freight facilities and depots, began in March when Oman-Etihad Rail invited specialised contractors to apply for prequalification. The project is expected to cost a total of $US 3bn.

“We are proud to partner with a leading international company like Vale, which has a long history and extensive global experience in the production of iron ore, using rail as a primary means of transportation for its logistical operations,” says Al Hashemi.

“The MoU highlights the interest of potential users in utilising the UAE-Oman railway network and benefiting from its fast, sustainable, reliable and cost-effective services.”

“The agreement is in line with our desire to continue to work on and establish strategic partnerships with major companies in the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman, supporting economic growth, continued development and investment in both countries,” says Al Mazrouei.

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