March 7 - In what could be a major fillip for the region's project cargo business, Union Railway, the main developer and operator of the national rail network in the UAE, has issued to pre-qualified companies, tenders for the rolling stock of the railway

he tenders were issued in conjunction with a tender released on March 1st to more than 20 pre-qualified consortia for the Civils and Track works of the same route.

The first stage of the project developed by Union Railway is in accordance with its agreement with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to move granulated sulphur from its sources in Shah and Habshan to Ruwais for export, from 2013.

The Civil & Track Works contract comprises the design, procurement, construction, testing and commissioning (on a design & build basis) of all assets relating to the completion of this project.

Construction of the national rail network project is scheduled to begin in the middle of this year, following the announcement of award of the tendered contracts.

Union Railway was established in June 2009 under Federal Law no. 2, with a mandate to manage the development, construction and operation of the UAE's national freight and passenger railway network.

The railway network will be built in phases to link the principal centres of population and industry of the UAE, as well as to form a vital part of the planned GCC railway network linking the six countries of the GCC.

Built to international standards, Union Railway's state of the art network will act as a catalyst for economic growth and sustained social development. Once complete, the railway will redefine logistics and transport in the region, providing a modern, safe, efficient, sustainable network that will connect all regions of the UAE, and will eventually connect the UAE to its wider GCC neighbours.