UAE: An agreement to create a joint venture to operate the rail network under construction in the United Arab Emirates was signed by Etihad Rail Vice-Chairman Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer and DB Schenker Rail CEO Alexander Hedderich on June 27.

The first freight trains carrying granulated sulphur on the 266 km initial phase of the planned 1 200 km national rail network are scheduled to begin running in October.

Project promoter Etihad Rail will own a majority stake in Etihad Rail DB Operations, with the German company responsible for operations and commercial management. DB Schenker Rail UK will be responsible for recruiting more than 200 experienced technical and operating staff, reflecting a requirement for employees to be able to speak English.

'The Etihad Rail network heralds a new era in transport', said DB Chief Executive Rüdiger Grube. 'DB Schenker Rail is proud to be part of it. We are confident that this network will contribute significantly to strengthening the strategic position of the United Arab Emirates. Our experts at DB Schenker Rail and DB International look forward to working with Etihad Rail.'