April 15, 2024
Business GCC Oman Transport UAE

Oman and Etihad Rail Company partners with Al Jazeera Steel

MoU signed for rail transport between Oman and UAE

Oman and Etihad Rail Company (OER), the developer and operator of the UAE-Oman Rail Network, has entered an agreement with Al Jazeera Steel Products (AJSP), a leading Oman-based steel structural products and tube manufacturer, for the transportation of raw materials and finished products on the railway network.

Under the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) terms, AJSP will utilise the UAE-Oman Rail Network for efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable transportation from its production facilities in Oman.

The signing of the MoU comes as AJSP is upgrading its existing facilities in Sohar, Oman, and establishing an advanced medium-section rolling mill in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The MoU was signed in Muscat by Mohammed bin Zahran Al Mahruqi, Deputy CEO of OER, and Venkat AN, CEO of AJSP.

Al Mahruqi expressed optimism about the new partnership with AJSP, stressing its commitment to providing cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable logistical solutions.

Cross-border trade

He highlighted the agreement’s alignment with the vision of the OER project, foreseeing a boost in cross-border trade activity, linking manufacturing centres, and connecting import and export points between Oman and the UAE.

Al Jazeera
L-R: Venkat AN, CEO of AJSP and Mohammed bin Zahran Al Mahruqi, Deputy CEO of OER. Image: Etihad Rail

AN also praised his entity’s partnership with OER. He noted the potential of the new logistics service as a force multiplier for expanding AJSP’s reach in the GCC and export markets.

In September 2022, Oman Rail, Oman’s national developer and operator of railway networks, inked a pact with Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE National Rail Network, to jointly establish the equally owned company, OER.

Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail and Abdulrahman bin Salim Al-Hatmi, Group CEO of Asyad, Oman’s state-owned logistics company, signed that agreement.

Sohar Port connection

OER has $3 billion for designing, developing and operating the railway network connecting Sohar Port and Freezone in Oman to the 900km-long UAE National Rail Network in Abu Dhabi. 

Established in 1996, AJSP operates two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Oman – a tube mill and a merchant bar mill – with a product portfolio that includes black pipes, galvanised pipes, hollow sections, merchant bar mill products and rebars. The company’s products conform to leading international compliance and quality certifications.

Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera Steel’s tube plant for steel pipes. Image: AJSP

AJSP operates across the GCC region, with Oman, UAE, and Saudi Arabia as key markets. The company also exports its products to North America, Europe, Australia, and other global markets.

The MoU between OER and AJSP underscores the strategic importance of the Etihad railway network as a crucial link in the transport and logistics chain, attracting commercial clients in both Oman and the UAE and international companies operating in the GCC region.

The joint railway network is expected to contribute to long-term economic relations and drive operational sustainability, aligning with Oman’s and the UAE’s net-zero strategies and promoting eco-conscious industrial practices.

Travel time reduction

With freight trains running up to 120km/h, starting from February 2023, the UAE-Oman Rail Network is expected to unlock efficiency in freight movement by reducing travel time between Oman and the UAE.

Each train on the network will transport up to 15,000 tonnes of freight between five significant ports and over 15 integrated freight facilities in Oman and the UAE.

Passenger trains on the network will travel from Sohar to Abu Dhabi in one hour and 40 minutes and from Sohar to Al Ain in the UAE in 47 minutes, travelling at a maximum 200km/h speed.

The railway project is expected to enhance tourism between Oman and the UAE, strengthening the competitiveness of the two GCC countries in global trade and consolidating their positions as key logistics hubs for import and export to markets across the wider GCC and Middle East region.

Separately, the Board of Directors of OER recently convened in Muscat to discuss the project’s achievements, progress in preliminary works, tendering processes, and forming partnerships to establish integrated logistics solutions.

Featured image: Freight trains can run up to 120km/h on the UAE-Oman Rail Network. Image: Etihad Rail

Last Updated on 4 weeks by Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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