HE Nasser Alsowaidi, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development Abu Dhabi received today HE Thierry Mariani, French Transport Minister who headed a delegation of French companies representing the expertise and credentials of the French transport sector, including THALES, EGIS, VEOLIA TRANSPORT, ALSTOM, EUROVIA, SNCF/KEOLIS, RATP DEV, LOHR and SYSTRA.His Excellency Alsowaidi presented the objectives and strategy behind the Economic Vision 2030, and insisted on the importance of competitive infrastructure to succeed in the diversification of the economy as well as the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment into the country.Mr. Richard Bowker, CEO of Etihad Rail, and Mr. Shadi Malak, Executive Director –commercial participated in the meeting and explained the Etihad Rail project and phasing, for which some of the French companies were already bidding.Abu Dhabi is developing a major multi-modal transport plan, of which the rail is a critical part to connect the emirates and the GCC countries together. When completed, the Etihad rail project will cover 1200 kilometers of tracks and will connect the emirates with the Indian Ocean to the East, and Saudi Arabia to the West, it will also connect the major economic zones and cities for transport of freight and passengers.“French companies are very competitive in rail and urban transport, and have a good track record of operations in the UAE. We are delighted to receive this delegation in recognition of this achievement and wish them good luck in the bidding process.” said HE Nasser Alsowaidi after the meeting.HE Thierry Mariani, French Minister of Transport hailed the delegation a success and added: “The French expertise in transportation is globally recognised and we would be honored to participate in the future plans of the emirate and support the government in achieving the ambitious vision 2030. “This visit was following a previous meeting between HE Thierry Mariani and HE Nasser Alsowaidi in April, who visited Paris both as Chairman of the DED and Chairman of Etihad Rail.Other meetings of the French delegation in Abu Dhabi included the National Transport Authority, the Department of Transport, Abu Dhabi Ports Company and a site visit of Khalifa Port and industrial zone in al Taweelah.