The joint venture, which will be known as Etihad Rail DB, will be led by Etihad Rail vice-chairman Mr Mattar Al Tayer, and will initially manage operations on the first phase of the network, the 264km line from Ruwais to Shah and Habshan. The new railway is expected to open by the end of the year and its primary traffic will be granulated sulphur, which will be exported through the port of Ruwais.

Etihad Rail DB will also act as a consultant for the operation of future phases of the national network.

"Deutsche Bahn and DB Schenker Rail are the ideal partners to help spearhead a successful, modern railway for the UAE for generations to come," says Mr Nasser Alsowaidi, chairman of Etihad Rail. "Facilitating knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices, the joint venture is a very positive step forward for Etihad Rail, furthering our commitment to provide the UAE with a world-class, modern, integrated and efficient rail network that will drive economic growth and social development."