UAE - Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE's national rail network, has signed MoUs with global transport giants - SNCF International, France's national railway company; Alstom, a global leader in green and smart mobility sector; Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company and one of the world’s largest integrated suppliers of railroad and transit products worldwide and Thales, a leading provider of advanced technologies for defence, aeronautics, space and transport sectors, and digital identity and security domains with innovative solutions, services and products.
All these agreements were signed at a key ceremony held on the sidelines of InnoTrans 2022, the leading international trade fair for transport technology, being held in Berlin, Germany, said a statement from Etihad Rail.
It is mainly aimed at supporting the UAE’s economic development by driving the growth of the rail industry in the region, and cover key areas which include rail operations and maintenance, service facilities, passenger stations, and cargo transportation, while ensuring the integration of the latest technologies, the exchange of knowledge and expertise, and investing in research and development.
On the strategic MoUs, Ahmed Al Musawa, Executive Director of Passenger Sector at Etihad Rail, said: "Our partners play a key role in supporting us to achieve our mission of developing and operating a rail network that incorporates state-of-the-art technologies, and provides safe, sustainable, and reliable solutions."
"Through partnering with some of the biggest names in the rail, cargo, and transportation industry, we assure our clients that we are developing the UAE National Rail Network as per the highest international standards, to meet their requirements and support them in meeting their business objectives, driving a sustainable, resilient, and cost-effective supply chain," he stated.
Under the terms of the MoU between Etihad Rail and SNCF International, the two parties will collaborate and explore opportunities in different areas of mutual interest.
These areas include railway operations; train maintenance; workshops and training sessions; design, development and operations rail projects in the UAE; supply and maintenance of railway rolling stock; mobility and integration solutions between various modes of transport; station services and facilities, among others.
SNCF International President Diego Diaz said: "We believe rail transport is the foundation of a sustainable mobility. SNCF International salutes the commitment of Etihad Rail with their ambitious and major projects for rail transport. We are looking forward to this cooperation."
Etihad Rail said its MoU with Alstom centres on the integration of advanced technologies and services in the railway industry.
As part of the MoU, the two parties will collaborate in areas, which include: Railway innovations, from incubation to commercialisation, including innovative sustainability in the field of train technology; mobility and integration solutions between various modes of transport; the performance of the railway, and system’s life cycle performance.
Etihad Rail and Alstom will also jointly collaborate on a first and last-mile strategy; digitalisation of mobility (MaaS system implementation, logical systems/IT architecture, cybersecurity); testing and commissioning, operation and maintenance; rolling stock configuration and facilities; the development of a learning ecosystem; local industrialisation, as well as other areas of interest.
"We are delighted to be collaborating with Etihad Rail as they build a strong transport ecosystem for the UAE and region. Together, we will focus on the digitalization of the railway sector to optimize operations, maintenance, and enhance customer experience for the passenger service," said Mama Sougoufara, Alstom’s Managing Director for Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey region.
"In addition, we will help the transition to zero-emission solutions, with a focus on green tractions including solutions for innovative and sustainable mobility," he added.
According to Etihad Rail, the MoU with Thales also places a major focus on the digitisation of its services.
Under the terms of the agreement, the two parties will collaborate in various areas, which include: New generation rail control; European Train Control System (ETSC) Level 3; driver advisory system; intelligent traffic operation; asset management; real time passenger flow; data driven operation control centre; video analytics; connectivity and passenger entertainment system; booking and ticketing system, and mobility and integration solutions between various modes of transport.
On the strategic tieup, Millar Crawford, Executive Vice-President of Ground Transportation Systems Thales, said: "It demonstrates the key partner role played by Thales throughout the world to help its customers meet the challenges they have to face. It proves also the high recognition of Thales expertise in rail domain."
In addition, the MoU with Progress Rail aims to discuss areas of cooperation to support sustainability in the railway industry through discussing potential opportunities for the development and deployment of an autonomous, zero-emissions port-to-port concept, which could serve as the foundation for future rail operations globally.
"We are committed to providing sustainable solutions for customers like Etihad Rail," remarked Marty Haycraft, the President and CEO of Progress Rail.
"The foundational suite of technologies we are developing will serve railroads around the world with their decarbonization journey," he added
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