UAE-Oman rail network: Logistics hub to usher a new era of growth

Companies are seeking bids for the $3 bn project
UAE-Oman rail network: Logistics hub to usher a new era of growth
Etihad Rail (Image Courtesy: Etihad Rail)

As part of a $3 billion joint venture to develop and construct a railway network between Oman and the UAE, Oman Rail and Etihad Rail are seeking pre-qualification bids from businesses experienced in carrying out large-scale infrastructure projects in Oman, the Oman News Agency reported.

On March 27th, local businesses and joint venture groups from Oman and the UAE may submit an application along with a bid cost of $13,6154.70 (50,000 dirhams) and a description of their credentials, timeline, and methodology.

With the project intended to link Oman’s Sohar Port in the country’s north with the UAE’s National Rail Network, the move hopes to increase the participation of the private sector in the state-owned project and the national economies of both nations.

Read more: Major progress likely on Oman transport projects in 2023

Currently, the 290-kilometer journey between Abu Dhabi and Sohar, one of the main enclaves in northern Oman, takes only 3.5 hours. However, this is expected to change over the next decade.

The project is being managed by Oman and Etihad Rail as part of a joint venture. They signed a protocol for the 303-kilometer route with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investments Company, which was sealed during Emirati President Mohamed bin Zayed’s visit in February to the Omani capital, Muscat.

Travel time cut to 47 minutes


Etihad Rail will construct the nearly 300-kilometer-long line. It will allow passenger trains to travel at 200km/h, while goods trains will travel at 120km/h. This connection will begin in Sohar, the northern port, and will reduce travel time from Abu Dhabi to Sohar, north of Muscat, to 100 minutes, and travel time from Sohar to Al Ain to 47 minutes. Passengers from Abu Dhabi will be able to connect to Etihad’s rail network to reach Dubai in the meantime.

In 2014, the sultanate laid out its strategy for 2040, which envisions the sector creating about 300,000 jobs as Oman becomes a logistics centre.

Trains will link Sohar and Abu Dhabi in an hour and 40 minutes while the journey from Sohar to Al Ain will take 47 minutes.

Lowering costs and improving connectivity


The rail network, when complete, will link Oman’s GCC neighbours to all ports in the sultanate.

Ship owners whose vessels dock at Sohar port each week can save up to $10 million and 104 days annually by opting to transport their goods further inland by rail, said a Mercator report commissioned for Oman’s logistics strategy for 2040.