The Business Year

HE Nasser Saif Al Mansoori

UAE, ABU DHABI - Transport

Green Signals

CEO, Etihad Rail

Bio

HE Nasser Saif Al-Mansoori was appointed CEO of Etihad Rail in September 2012, having served on the Board since 2009. He began his career in 1988 as a City Planner in the Abu Dhabi Public Works Department, thereafter assuming a teaching position at UAE University. He also serves on the boards of other government bodies and NGOs, and was previously the Chairman of the Infrastructure Committee—Abu Dhabi Western Region Development Council, and a Board Member of Emirates Transport. He is also the founding member of the Emirates Traffic Safety Society and the UAE Sustainable Buildings Society. He holds a PhD in Urban Planning from Portland State University. His academic awards, include the Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Award for Academic Excellence.

What role will Etihad Rail play in supporting Abu Dhabi’s developing industrial sector? Modern transport infrastructure is a key element in facilitating the international competitiveness of a country’s industrial sector. […]

What role will Etihad Rail play in supporting Abu Dhabi’s developing industrial sector?

Modern transport infrastructure is a key element in facilitating the international competitiveness of a country’s industrial sector. Etihad Rail’s state-of-the-art network has been carefully designed to serve the key industrial sectors in the country as well as the new industrial zones such as the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad), and to link these directly with our major ports to provide an efficient means of transporting large volumes of raw materials, and intermediate and finished products. Our 1,200-kilometer network will be ideally located to serve, among others, customers in the oil and gas, metals, aggregates, cement, and waste industries. We have already signed 15 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with future customers and partners who anticipate the improvements that rail will bring to their logistics operations.

In terms of transportation, how will Etihad Rail contribute to the shift away from oil and gas dependency?

The railway will facilitate the diversification of economic activity by providing the non-oil industrial sector with a safe, secure, reliable, and efficient means of transporting large volumes of goods to customers within the UAE, to and from its ports, and on to other GCC countries, thereby helping to reduce logistics costs and increasing the competitiveness on the world market of goods produced in the UAE. Etihad Rail has been working with the relevant authorities and port operating companies to ensure the rail network enhances the efficiency of logistics chains, for example by connecting as close as possible to the UAE’s ports to eliminate costly double handling and storage of freight.

How closely is Etihad Rail working with other governments, regulators, and operators in the GCC to plan the connection of the wider GCC network?

The GCC railway has the full backing of the federal and local governments in the UAE as well as of the governments of other GCC countries. Etihad Rail is an active participant in GCC committees and working groups, facilitated by the GCC Secretariat General, with the aim of ensuring that the GCC national networks are operationally interoperable, have similar train signaling systems and compatible customs processes, and offer a regulatory environment that stimulates commercial growth. We have already agreed on the key common technical standards that each railway must adopt and these are already built into Etihad Rail’s designs. We are now discussing the operational, institutional, and regulatory arrangements that need to be put in place at the GCC level.

“Each train will comprise of three diesel locomotives pulling approximately 100 hopper wagons. “

Etihad Rail is currently completing Stage I, connecting Shah and Habshan to Ruwais. What is the size of this project and when is it expected to be completed?

Trains will be used to transport granulated sulfur from the granulation plants at Habshan and Shah to the export loading facility at Ruwais. Stage I of the Etihad Rail network will extend 153 kilometers from Habshan to Ruwais and 264 kilometers from Shah to Ruwais, facilitating an efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly means of transporting the sulfur. Each train will comprise of three diesel locomotives pulling approximately 100 hopper wagons. There will be one train per day from both loading points to the port. Each hopper wagon can carry 100 tons, and thus each 100 wagon train will carry about 10,000 tons per day. In turn, each train will eliminate approximately 300 trucks from the highway system. Construction on Stage I is well advanced, with the Habshan-Ruwais route scheduled for launch by the end of 2013, with the Shah-Habshan route to follow in 2014.

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