The United Arab Emirates announced the launch of its Railways Program, which is an integrated strategy for the railway sector in the UAE for the coming decades.
The Program includes a national network of railway projects that link the emirates and the key cities of the country, with opportunities to expand beyond the borders.
The investments of the UAE Railway Program are worth $13.6 billion, 70 percent of which target the local market.
The Program will provide more than 9,000 jobs in the railway sector by 2030.
The "Etihad Rail" project connects Ghuwaifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to the port of Fujairah on the Eastern Coast.
The Railways Program was launched during a special event celebrating the "Projects of the 50", held at Dubai's EXPO 2020.
At the event, the Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the Etihad Rail is the largest project to consolidate the union's strength for the next fifty years.
"It will connect 11 key cities and regions across the UAE," he said, adding that the UAE's infrastructure is among the best in the world, and the Etihad Rail will further enhance UAE excellence in the logistical field.
"The project is in line with the environmental policy of the UAE, and it will reduce carbon emissions by 70-80 percent."
Also, at the event, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan stressed that the Program reflects the true meaning of integration into the national economic system, as "we see the largest partnership between government entities at the federal and local levels."
He noted that the program "comes to support a national vision to connect the country's key centers of industry and production, open new trade routes and facilitate population movement, creating the most developed work and living environment in the region."
Chairman of Etihad Rail Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan described the Program as a "key milestone" in the road transport sector and a true reflection of "The Principles of the 50."
Sheikh Theyab added that the Railways Program extends an opportunity to qualify and train Emirati talents and enable them to lead this vital sector in the future.
The UAE Railways Program will enhance the transportation system across the UAE, allowing passengers to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 50 minutes, and from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in 100 minutes.
The Railway Program includes three key projects. The first project is the Freight Rail, which provides Etihad Rail freight services.
The second project is the Rail Passenger Services that aim to connect 11 cities with the UAE from al-Sila to Fujairah.
The third project is the Integrated Transportation Service, where an innovation center will be established to ensure the integration of smart transportation solutions.
By 2030, the number of passengers is expected to reach more than 36.5 million annually.
The National Railway Program creates enormous economic opportunities amounting to $54.4 billion. The estimated benefits of reducing carbon emissions amount to $5.7 billion. It will also achieve tourism benefits estimated at $6.2 billion during the next 50 years.