ABU DHABI: Etihad Rail – the master developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway network – today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dubai-based Global Shipping ‘&’ Logistics LLC (GSL), a subsidiary of the Al Shirawi Group of companies and a leading third party logistics provider.
The agreement will see GSL use the Etihad Rail network for cold chain – a temperature-controlled supply chain – for which rail brings many benefits, according to a press release by Etihad Rail.
The MoU, which was signed by CEO of Etihad Rail Dr. Nasser Saif Al-Mansouri and CEO of GSL Khalid Al Shirawi, is a strategic move for GSL, whose client base includes international and local brands of premium restaurant chains and food items. The agreement will offer GSL’s clients a lower risk cold chain, particularly over long distances, and with a safer, more efficient, and more environmentally-friendly mode of transport than trucks.
Since its inception in 1975, GSL has been a key player in the burgeoning third party logistics sector of the UAE. The company has now established itself as a complete supply chain management solution provider, boasting state-of-the-art facilities for customers’ complex cold and temperature-controlled warehousing, freight management and distribution requirements.
Commenting on the MoU, the CEO of Etihad Rail Nasser Saif Al-Mansouri said: “Etihad Rail aims to offer customised solutions to UAE businesses to foster growth within the UAE. We are proud to provide GSL – a leading UAE-based third party logistics provider- reach into the MENA region and Asia with a sustainable transportation solution that will positively impact their customers and the UAE community.” CEO of GSL Khalid Al Shirawi added: “We anticipate that using rail will create a lower cost and more reliable and effective cold chain for our customers, in particular those who are distributing perishable goods to the GCC market.” Today’s signing with GSL follows Etihad Rail’s recent MoU signings with HOYER Global Transport and DHL. HOYER Global Transport will use the railway for the transport of liquid bulk, and DHL will use the railway network to meet its customers’ growing logistical needs.
Etihad Rail has also signed agreements with other customers across a range of industries including Al Dahra, Emirates Steel, Arkan, Etisalat and du. While Al Dahra will use rail to transport hay, Emirates Steel and Arkan plan to transport their raw and finished materials via the railway, and du and Etisalat will benefit from access to the network’s infrastructure to expand their growing network and customer base.
Upon completion, the Etihad Rail network – which will cater to both freight and passengers – will span a total of 1,200 km across the Emirates. It will connect urban and remote communities, facilitate trade, open up communication channels and foster economic development. The network will also form a vital part of the GCC Railway Network – linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.
Construction work on Stage One, which links Shah and Habshan to Ruwais, is well underway, and the tendering process is already in progress for Stage Two, which will connect the railway to Mussafah, to the Gulf ports (Khalifa and Jebel Ali Ports) and the Saudi and Omani borders.