The Board of Directors of Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway, has awarded a contract for the supply of locomotives for the UAE’s nationwide rail network to Progress Rail Locomotive Inc., a Caterpillar company, expanding the company’s fleet to 45 locomotives, which is equivalent to 6 times the current fleet consisting of 7 locomotives.
In the presence of His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Executive Council, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of Etihad Rail, the contract was signed by Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, and Ramzi Imad, Progress Rail’s Regional Director of International Sales for North Africa and Middle East.
Speaking on the occasion, H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed said: “In the year of “2020: Towards the next 50”, we are moving forward in completing all the necessary components for this national project that contributes to the UAE’s progress and enhances the country’s prestigious global position. The cutting-edge fleet of locomotives will raise the bar in the transportation system and logistics services in the country and increase the network’s annual capacity to more than 60 million tons, compared to the current annual capacity of approximately 7.2 million tons.”
H.H. added: “Our advanced locomotives fleet will serve the needs of the customers of this national strategic project, which will transform the transport industry in the country and the region.”
Etihad Rail contracted Progress Rail, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of diesel-electric locomotives, to design, manufacture, test, and ship 38 EMD locomotives especially designed to withstand the high temperatures and humidity of the gulf region. Additionally, the locomotives fleet will be equipped with a state-of-the-art air filtration system that filters sand from the air intake and pulse cleaning systems, ensuring effective and efficient operations while passing through desert areas.
The locomotives feature powerful motors and will be supported by advanced emission reduction technology, reducing carbon emissions by 70-80%. The locomotives are designed to haul a 100-wagon train, which can replace 5,600 on-road truck trips per day.
The agreement increases the fleet of Etihad Rail to 45 heavy 4,500 HP locomotives, which are among the most powerful locomotives in the region. Since Etihad Rail became operational in 2016, the company’s current fleet of 7 locomotives has contributed to decreasing the number of truck trips on the roads of Al Dhafrah by more than one million, with up to 28 million tons of granulated sulphur transported from sources at Shah and Habshan to the processing and export point at Ruwais.
The signing of the contract follows the awarding of all civil works contracts for Stage Two of the national railway network, the launch of construction works of Package A of Stage Two, and the award of a contract to build a series of freight facilities for the rail network, underlining the company’s consistent and strong performance to complete one of the biggest and most important infrastructural projects in the country.