Etihad Rail has announced it has secured financing of US$1.28 billion for Stage One of its railway project, which comprises the route from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais.
Commenting on the completion of financing for the first stage of the project, H.E. Nasser Alsowaidi, chairman of Etihad Rail said: “The securing of this loan not only represents the beginning of a new era for the UAE in trade and travel through a transportation network that will connect all seven emirates with our GCC partners, but also reflects the international financial community’s confidence in Etihad Rail and the significant potential of the UAE’s national railway.”
The five-year loan will be financed on a club deal basis by National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, with NBAD acting as both the facility and security agent of the loan.
Initial financing plans for the first stage of the project were originally approved by the United Arab Emirates’ Federal Cabinet in early 2012, and similarly authorised by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
Commenting on behalf of Etihad Rail, Nasser Saif Al Mansoori, chief executive of Etihad Rail said: “This loan is yet another indicator of the significant progress being made at Etihad Rail.
“With the recent arrival of our wagons, the considerable headway being made in construction on Stage One, and as we look forward to the arrival of our locomotives later this quarter, Etihad Rail is on schedule to seeing the first train run from Habshan to Ruwais by the end of this year.
“We look forward to working with our banking partners as we develop this landmark project for the UAE, and appreciate the efforts of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and the substantial role the company played in helping to secure this loan.”
Stage One of the Etihad Rail network will extend 264 km from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais, facilitating a modern, safe, efficient and environmentally friendly means to transport ADNOC ‘s shipments of granulated sulphur for export at the port of Ruwais.
Etihad Rail received its first shipment of wagons for Stage One in December last year, and will receive its first shipment of locomotives this quarter, while construction works on the route are well underway.
Upon completion, the UAE’s national railway network will span approximately 1,200 km across the Emirates, boosting economic growth by connecting key centres of industry and population, and sustaining trade and social development.
The Etihad Rail network will also form a vital part of the GCC railway network.