Further expanding its customer portfolio for Stage Two of the UAE’s national railway network, Etihad Rail on Sunday announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bertschi, a Switzerland-based logistics company specialising in liquid and dry bulk products for the chemical industry.
Etihad Rail’s network will not only connect key centres of industry and population within the UAE, but will also form a vital part of the GCC-wide rail network, linking to Saudi Arabia in the west and Oman in the east.
The MoU, signed by Etihad Rail CEO Dr. Nasser Al Mansoori and Bertschi Global AG Manager Business Unit Global, Michael Baechler, will enable the logistics company to use the rail network for cross-border transport of equipment and products such as hazardous and non-hazardous bulk liquid and dry chemicals. This will comprise trips between the UAE and other GCC countries, with focus on Saudi Arabia.
Commenting on the MoU, Dr. Nasser Al Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail, said: "The UAE economy is rapidly developing, and modern rail infrastructure is a key component of this development. The MoU with Bertschi is not only in line with our commitment to provide tailor-made solutions to our customers, but also embodies the UAE leadership’s vision to drive the country’s economic growth and development. Furthermore, the agreement showcases the positive impact Etihad Rail will have on global industry players, offering them growth opportunities not only in the UAE but in the region as a whole."
Michael Baechler, from Bertschi, also added: "Bertschi has made its mark worldwide in intermodal rail and short sea transport, and our experience has instilled a loyal appreciation for the value of rail transport and the benefits it offers in terms of safety, costs and efficiency. Through our MoU with Etihad Rail, we will be able to grow in alignment with the industries we service in the region, which are also growing, and we will ensure that we are able to provide the most seamless transport experience of our customers’ goods."
Family-owned Bertschi operates 54 subsidiaries across Europe, Russia, Turkey, the Middle East, China, South-east Asia, and the US. The company is a key player in its field, generating an annual turnover of 510 million euros, and owns more than 19,000 tank and dry bulk containers, 1,200 trucks and 16 container terminals.
Construction contracts for Stage Two of the Etihad Rail project, which will connect the railway to Mussafah, the Gulf ports of Khalifa and Jebel Ali, and the Saudi and Omani borders, will be awarded by year-end. During this period, Etihad Rail will also launch the Habshan-Ruwais route as part of Stage One, which will mark the first train journey in the UAE. Meanwhile, preliminary engineering for Stage Three, which will connect the rest of the Northern Emirates, is underway.
Upon completion, the Etihad Rail network, which will cater to both freight and passengers, will span approximately 1,200kms across the Emirates. It will connect urban and peripheral communities, facilitate trade, open up communication channels and foster economic development across all Emirates in the UAE. The network will also form a part of the GCC railway network, linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.
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