The five-year loan will be financed on a club deal basis by National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, and HSBC Bank Middle East, with NBAD acting as both the facility and security agent of the loan.

Initial financing for the first stage of the project was approved by the UAE's Federal Cabinet in early 2012, and similarly authorised by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. Construction of phase 1 began around the same time, and it is hoped that the first trains which will transport Adnoc's shipments of sulphur along the route for export from the port of Ruwais will begin operations by the end of 2013.

"With the recent arrival of our wagons, the considerable headway being made in construction on Stage One, and as we look forward to the arrival of our locomotives later this quarter, Etihad Rail is on schedule to operate the first train from Habshan to Ruwais by the end of this year," says Dr Nasser Saif Al Mansoiri, CEO of Etihad Rail.

For an in-depth look at Etihad Rail's plans for the UAE see the April 2012 issue of IRJ, p31, or click here