UAE’s National Rail Project marks new milestone

This ensures a smooth flow of tidal currents along the sides of the port and preserves the coral reefs


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Fri 15 Jul 2022, 12:09 PM

Etihad Rail has announced the successful connection between Khalifa Port and the UAE National Railway Network via the country’s first marine rail bridge, which will enhance transportation of goods in the region.

Khuloud Al Mazrouei, deputy project manager, Etihad Rail, noted that the construction of the bridge comes as part of Package B of Stage Two of the National Rail Network.

“We have installed all the T-beams in the marine bridge, which will connect Khalifa Port with the Network. This achievement was completed after installing the last T-beam for the bridge, which extends over 1km, bringing the total number of T-beams to 100,” said the Emirati engineer at Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the network.

Al Mazrouei said that the most important feature of the bridge is that it runs parallel to a road bridge of the same length, which connects the mainland of Abu Dhabi with the sea container terminal.

“This ensures a smooth flow of tidal currents along the sides of the port and preserves the coral reefs.”

The marine bridge, which is the first of its kind in the network, is being developed by 320 people, recording more than 1 million working hours so far, in compliance with the top environmental and global standards. The team faced several challenges while building the bridge in a marine environment and managed to counter it successfully.

“The biggest challenges are climate and environmental ones, caused by the area’s geography. These include tides, changes in the speed and direction of wind, and high temperatures and humidity levels. We have dealt with such challenges during the construction works of the bridge, particularly during the building and designing of the T-beams, given their massive scale and size. We were very vigilant throughout our work, to ensure not causing any harm to the surrounding environment.”


Al Mazrouei pointed out that other challenges included the loading of heavy equipment on ships and ferries from the port.

“Our team has managed to overcome these challenges through deliberate planning and construction work, which was carried out according to the best practices and using the latest and most advanced construction equipment that suit the location and nature of the bridge.”

The marine rail bridge will improve the transportation of goods in the region, reducing the costs of freight and trade. Upon completion, the capacity of the bridge will be approximately 10 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) per year.

“The bridge will improve the flow of goods to the region, and reduce shipping and trade costs. This comes in line with Etihad Rail’s objectives of establishing a safe and sustainable UAE National Rail Network, which connects the main ports to manufacturing and production points and population centres in the UAE. This supports the project’s contribution to reducing carbon emissions and preserving the environment by reducing freight traffic on main roads,” Al Mazrouei added.

The National Railway Network supports the growth of the national economy with a sustainable transportation system, which provides safety and efficiency. The network’s locomotives incorporate the latest technology for reducing emissions, where carbon emissions will be reduced by 70 to 80 per cent compared to the amount emitted by trucks, with one single train journey replacing around 300 trucks on the road.

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