Dubai: A key railway network linking the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states will begin in UAE by the end of next year, a senior official has said.
Tenders for the 30 billion dirhams (USD 81.5) project, which will run 1,100 km from the Saudi Arabian border to Oman in the east, will be invited in early 2010, Hussein Jassim Al Nuwais, chairman of the Etihad (Union) Railways Company, said.
The statement comes after UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a federal decree formulating the board of directors of the Etihad (Union) Railways Company under the chairmanship of Hussein Jassim Al Nowais.
The Etihad Railways "was one of the most vital and strategic projects to be implemented by the state within its ongoing quest to achieve more comprehensive development", Nuwais was quoted as saying by WAM news agency.
He added that the railway line to be built in UAE would be part of a regional USD 25 billion railway network linking the GCC states, designed to enhance bilateral trade and facilitate the movement of goods and passengers between the Gulf countries.
Nuwais said that the project would be funded through direct funding as well as local and international banks and issuance of bonds designed for this project. He added that phased funding will be achieved over a total period of five to seven years.