September 21 - Etihad Rail, the master developer and operator of the UAE's national railway - has hosted two seminars in Dubai designed to provide an opportunity for its team to share industry best practices and build relationships with potential customer

Commenting on the rationale behind the industry seminars, Shadi Malak, executive director - Commercial atEtihad Rail, said: "We at Etihad Rail are committed to working with our industry partners to fully understand their business needs in order to provide a railway network that meets their requirements. The seminars have enabled us to share ideas with these important partners as well as further cultivate our working relations with them. 

"Etihad Rail sees enormous value in strengthening our ties with our stakeholders and working closely with them to understand their goals, business objectives and aspirations. We believe that through such co-ordination and co-operation we will help fuel the national economy and achieve the UAE's 2021 strategy and Abu Dhabi's 2030 Vision." 

Geared towards industry leaders in the retail bulk commodities as well as the wholesale containerised sectors, the industry seminars saw the formation of the Quarry Products Group, as well as the Shipping & Freight Advisory Groups. These two groups, comprising leading companies within each respective field, will work closely with Etihad Rail to provide insight and expertise about what is required to build and operate the next generation of intermodal and loading and unloading facilities.

Led by its Commercial Team, Etihad Rail said the seminars demonstrated the proactive steps it is taking to ensure that relevant sectors of the market are fully informed of the many benefits and solutions that rail can bring to their business. More than 30 different transport entities were represented - all proposing ideas that Etihad Rail may be able to implement in its future rail plans. 

Transportation of bulk commodities and containers is a primary focus for Etihad Rail - whose landmark project will see a 1,200km network spanning across the Emirates and catering to both freight and passengers.

Julius Mooney, strategic business development Manager of freight forwarder Hellmann, said: "The Etihad Rail project is incredibly enterprising and shows the GCC moving towards a more sustainable and organised mode of transport in the 21st century. The possibility of the line replacing and improving feeder vessel routes is a very strong selling point. And further down the line, a seamless route between the UAE and Saudi, potentially streamlining customs procedures, is attractive to both logistics companies and end users."

Etihad Rail's seminar provided information on the railway's latest progress, including updated concept routes, facilities and planned project timescales. This seminar also provided an effective forum for participants to give their necessary feedback and insight. Like the industry seminars, this event was yet another way that Etihad Rail is inviting and encouraging stakeholder engagement by opening up channels of communication.

The railway network being developed by Etihad Rail is set to provide many lucrative contracts for project cargo forwarders over the next three years.