With FS Group in Abu Dhabi for the Middle East Rail

FS's excellences and its projects in the region at the most important trade fair in the Middle East dedicated to rail transport

Middle East Rail 2024, the most important exhibition in the Middle East region organised in Abu Dhabi and dedicated to the railway sector, has ended.

To highlight the attention that the UAE and other countries in the region are increasingly paying to energy transition and the development of the new integrated transport and mobility model, this year's edition of the Middle East Rail trade fair was held in conjunction with the Mobility Live Middle East event, dedicated specifically to electric mobility. The event offered numerous opportunities for networking and learning more about rail-related innovation, best available technologies and strategies, and hosted more than 250 companies presenting cutting-edge products and solutions in the mobility sector on a global scale.

Ferrovie dello Stato's commitment to the development of sustainable mobility and the promotion of intermodal logistics was emphasised by Carlo Palasciano, Chief International Officer of the FS Group and President of Mercitalia Logistics, who, as member of the panel 'Beyond borders: rail networks and strategic evolution of international trade', pointed out how FS's European experience can be a driving force for the development of similar topics in the Middle East.

Digitisation and its scenarios were the focus of the speech by Roberto Borghi, Italferr's Foreign Market and No-Captive department director, who in the panel 'Building tomorrow's rails today: a deep dive into the world of smart railway infrastructure', illustrated the opportunities of Digital Twin technology, the construction of the so-called digital twins of infrastructure elements.

Giuseppe Carcasi, RFI's Technology & Digital Product Owner, on the other hand, presented the preliminary results of the MaDe4Rail project - developed within the framework of Europe's Rail JU Program with the Infrastructure Hub’s lead company as coordinator - and participated in the panel 'AI-powered operations: integrating digital intelligence into rail services' by focusing on the opportunities of artificial intelligence solutions for the Infrastructure Manager, while in the panel discussion 'High-speed harmonisation: bridging the gap between conventional trains and maglev technology', he explored the prospects of adopting magnetic levitation technology. The Infrastructure Hub, therefore, can play the role of 'driver' for innovation in the coming years.

The FS Group's participation in the Middle East Rail fair underlined the FS Group's increasingly important role in an area such as the Middle East that is undergoing rapid economic and infrastructural development.

The Group led by Luigi Ferraris, in fact, holds 35% of the capital in the FLOW consortium along with Hitachi Rail (35%) and Alstom (30%) set up to implement the operation and maintenance project for lines 3, 4, 5 and 6 (out of 6 total) of the strategically important Riyadh metro.

Also in Saudi Arabia, as part of the new ambitious NEOM project aimed at building a new resilient and sustainable city, FS's Infrastructure Hub's company Italferr was awarded the design services to support the Italian construction company Webuild in the construction of the new high-speed line called the 'South Connector'. Italferr, as head of a Joint Venture comprising major international partners such as the US company Hill International and the Spanish company Sener, was also awarded the Program Management Consultancy (PMC) activities, currently awaiting start-up, for the Saudi Landbridge Railway Network Project (SLRN). The project comprises a freight and passenger railway infrastructure consisting of 1,500 km of new line and 678 km of possible upgrading of existing lines, 3 passenger stations, 7 logistics centres and 1 depot.

The Group's company Italcertifer also is active in the area, again as an independent third party, working as Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) for the Haramain High Speed Rail in Saudi Arabia, as Independent Checking Engineer (ICE) and Independent Competent Person (ICP) for the new metro lines in Riyadh and as ISA for the new 'Etihad Rail' projects.