Etihad Rail has secured US$1.28bn in project financing from local and international banks.

The finance has a tenor of five years and will be used to complete stage one of the UAE’s national railway project, the 264km route connecting Shah and Habshan to Ruwais.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) has acted as facility and security agent. The other banks in the club deal are Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and HSBC.

The route will help transport granulated sulphur for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), for export from Ruwais port.
It will eventually be part of a road network connecting Abu Dhabi to Dubai and other regional trade hubs, aiding with the transport and export of oil and gas-related products from ports along the Arabian Gulf coastline.

Mark Yassin, senior general manger of global banking at NBAD, says: “We are very delighted to be part of this project and consider the ultimate build out of the Etihad Rail project as a solid contribution to the UAE, and in fact the GCC, in terms of economic progress and diversification, as well as social and environmental benefits. We see the first phase as a substantial step to improved and increased co-operation and trade.”

Etihad Rail’s CEO Nasser Saif Al Mansoori says: “This loan is yet another indicator of the significant progress being made at Etihad Rail. With the recent arrival of our wagons, the considerable headway being made in construction on stage one, and as we look forward to the arrival of our locomotives later this quarter, Etihad Rail is on schedule to seeing the first train run from Habshan to Ruwais by the end of this year.”