The signing ceremony was attended by Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, head of Abu Dhabi Department of Transport and chairman of Etihad Rail Board of Directors, Obaid bin Humaid Al Tayer, UAE minister of state for financial affairs, and Riyad Abdul Rahman Al Mubarak, head of Abu Dhabi Department of Finance.
The second stage of the Etihad Rail national rail network will extend 605 km from Ghuweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah on the east coast, to be followed by future route additions, the report said.
The volume of goods transported by the rail network will increase from 7 million tons per year on stage one to more than 50 million tons, it added.
Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed, speaking at the signing ceremony, said that the budget approval for the second stage of the national rail network "reflects the keenness of our leadership to implement national strategic projects."
He hailed the network for achieving many benefits and advantages locally and internationally, including connecting the emirates and linking industrial areas, boosting economic diversity, and supporting economic and social development in the country.
The project is in line with the UAE Vision 2021, which aims to transform its economy into a competitive knowledge-based economy, he said.
The rail network "serves as a catalyst for economic growth by connecting key commercial and industrial centers and providing a safe and reliable means of transportation for future generations," he added.
In 2015, the stage one of the rail project, which extends 264 km, was completed. Linking the Shah and Habshan gas fields in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi to the port of Ruwais on the Gulf, it boasts the capacity of transferring 22,000 tons of sulfur granules daily.