Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, accompanied by Shadi Malak, CEO of Etihad Rail, inaugurated the 16th edition of the Middle East Rail conference.

Held in partnership with Etihad Rail, the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and the Department of Culture and Tourism, Middle East Rail will be taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) on 17th-18th May, 2022.

The event, which is the largest transport event in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, will bring together leaders of the entire transportation community, forward-thinking senior executives, key decision makers, and government representatives to convene, discuss the most pressing topics in the global railway and transportation sector, and highlight the latest innovations in the industry.

Middle East Rail will bring together more than 600 VIPs, government officials, transport and infrastructure industry experts from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as well as 6,000 attendees, more than 200 speakers, and more than 250 exhibitors. Middle East Rail is the dedicated platform for the entire rail ecosystem to come together to learn, connect and build relationships with key stakeholders in the industry.

The agenda features over 100 conference presentations, panels and interviews covering; connected and intelligent systems, automated and safe processes, IoT and data analysis, sustainable operations and much more.

The sessions will be led by the industry’s leading figures, forward-thinking senior executives and the key decision makers who are reshaping the industry.

The inauguration was also attended by Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al Hajraf, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Minister of Transport and Communications of Bahrain, Dr. Rumaih bin Muhammad Al Rumaih, President of the Public Authority for Transport of Saudi Arabia, and Wendy Morton, Minister of State for Transport of the UK, along with a number of ministers of transport and CEOs of all the major railway operators and with several senior officials.

In his speech, Al Mazrouei said the UAE has one of the world’s best and most advanced transport infrastructures. Its road, metro and transportation network extends to urban areas and is integrated to encourage growth in various economic sectors, including trade and tourism.

The UAE’s transport sector is prioritised by the country’s leadership due to its role in achieving sustainable development, its contribution to GDP and the growth of national industries, and its close connections to vital sectors on which the country will depend during the next fifty years, he added.

Methods of transport in the UAE are characterised by their outstanding quality and efficiency to ensure safe and easy transport for passengers, reinforce social coherence and facilitate trade due to the leadership’s vision, he further added, noting that the UAE was ranked among the top 20 countries worldwide in 13 indicators related to transport in 2021.

Al Mazrouei stressed that the world is currently facing transport and logistics-related issues, and the coronavirus pandemic has posed many challenges that require cooperation and the drafting of strategies to keep pace with future goals.

The Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE national railway network, will change the face of travel in the country and the region in the coming years, he said, noting that it will create new economic opportunities and integrate communities around railway networks.

He also highlighted the keenness of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure to upgrade and improve the road network by expanding federal roads nationwide and increasing the total length of the traffic lanes of the federal roads to 4,300 kilometres over the past 20 years, linking the country’s regions and cities in a smooth and flexible manner.

He said his ministry had updated the National Smart Mobility Strategy, which aligns with the country’s approach for the upcoming 50 years.

Al Mazrouei, accompanied by Malak, also inaugurated an exhibition held on the sidelines of the conference, which sees over 250 exhibitors from across the globe, bringing cutting edge products and solutions from the entire transport ecosystem.

International pavilions will feature an all-star line-up of international companies from Germany, China, the United Kingdom and Spain.

Located in prime locations on the expo floor, the country pavilions will offer visitors a chance to learn about the latest innovations being created from these nations.

A two-day programme will host over 200 industry leading speakers from across the region and beyond. With dedicated conference theatres themed around Sustainability, Digital Innovatiton and Innovative Mobility, participants can to attend over 50 hours of free content across 2 compelling days.

It will also include more than 50 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certified workshops and seminars, which aims at highlighting the latest challenges operating in the region to the engineering community who are building world class projects. In addition, attendees will have a chance to explore more than 100 startups operating in the smart mobility ecosystem, their new products, and innovations.