A group of senior leaders hailing from AD Ports Group participated in a stimulating keynote panel discussion, entitled “Fast Tracking to the World by Land, Sea and Rail”, at the recently-concluded Middle East Rail 2023 exhibition. The discussion highlighted the role that the recent development of railway across the UAE and the GCC will have in transforming the region as a centre for global manufacturing, trade and logistics. In particular, the panellists focused on the benefits that local, regional and global customers can expect from accessing an integrated land, sea and rail logistics network capable of effectively connecting local manufacturing and commercial hubs to a combined global marketplace of over 4.5 billion consumers.
The panel, moderated by Julian Skyrme, Director of Ports Commercial, Ports Cluster, AD Ports Group, examined the transformational qualities of the new rail system from the vantage of connectivity, competitiveness, collaboration, safety, and sustainability.
Focussing on connectivity, Alexander Don, Chief Operating Officer, Ports Operations, Ports Cluster, AD Ports Group, noted: “The primary benefit of the addition of the new regional railway is that it will provide our customers with the confidence to invest in a manufacturing base here in the UAE, one that is connected to global markets through a highly dense multimodal trade network. The combination of growing maritime capacity, as exemplified by Khalifa Port expansion, coupled with extensive overland connectivity built by Etihad Rail, render the UAE and the greater region one of the single most attractive destinations for multidecade foreign-investments, thereby driving the diversification and growth of the UAE’s economy.”
Reflecting on the benefits of rail development on the environmental sustainability agenda, David Gatward, Chief Engineering & Technical Services Officer, Engineering & Technical Services, AD Ports Group, said: “With its ability to remove 300 trucks off our roads in a single train, the introduction of rail will have a significant contribution towards achieving the government’s net zero 2050 commitments and its decarbonization agenda. Putting these statements into context, by 2050 we expect to see 8.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions being removed by utilizing the over-land rail network, which represents a 20% reduction from today’s emissions output. Furthermore, given that the UAE has the advantage of developing a brand new rail system rather than upgrading a legacy network, it is able to integrate not only a new transportation modality, but also digitally connect land, sea and rail into a single system interface thanks to solutions provided by major digital solutions developers as our own Maqta Gateway.”
Tying together the collaborative role between rail and trucking, Clifford D’Souza, Chief Operating Officer & EVP, MICCO Logistics, Logistics Cluster, AD Ports Group, said: “Regional multimodal transport is akin to a jigsaw puzzle, where the development of rail filled the missing link. With Etihad Rail becoming fully-integrated into the national and regional cargo ecosystem, we will see a major transformation of our logistics offering, and MICCO is thrilled to have been a partner of Etihad Rail from the very beginning. The Intermodal Transportation Services Agreement which our two parties recently signed combines the advantages of each mode of transport into a single logistics solution and furthers road safety by optimising the use of trucking. The agreement also builds on the success of our recently signed contract for transport of aggregate, which leverages Etihad Rail’s terminals at Fujairah and ICAD – Musaffah, with our advanced trucking fleet.”
Highlighting the competitive edge offered by the new network, Mansoor Al Marar, Vice President, Industrial Business Development, Economic Cities & Free Zones Cluster, AD Ports Group, said: “As customers consider locating their manufacturing and distribution hubs to KEZAD, we see that access to efficient and multimodal freight logistics is a significant value-added proposition, as transportation alone is a significant cost. Having our economic zones connected to all major regional ports via overland rail allows us to compete for upstream industries that require a cost-effective and scalable transport capable of handling millions of tonnes of bulk cargo. In addition, the future development of passenger rail will also help address some of the transportation challenges associated with timely movement of the workforce, which will play an important role in improving regional productivity.”
The expert panel discussion was held during the recent Middle East Rail 2023 exhibition, the region’s leading event for rail innovation, technology & strategy, at which AD Ports Group showcased its support for, and participation in, the development of the national overland cargo and passenger system, which is a core component of the UAE Vision 2021 - aimed at increasing the national GDP from non-oil sectors to over 60% by 2030. To access further insights and analysis from AD Ports Group’s leadership team.
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