United Arab Emirates - Transportation

With most of the population concentrated in coastal towns and the Al 'Ayn oasis, road links between these centers have been given priority. There is now a paved coastal road linking Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, 'Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, and R'as al-Khaimah. Roads linking the interior to the main towns have been constructed; of particular importance is the transpeninsular road from Fujairah through the Hajar Mountains. A six-lane, 209-km (130-mi) highway has been built between Abu Dhabi and Al-'Ayn, and two bridges connect Abu Dhabi island with the mainland. Another highway links the UAE coastal network with the Trans-Arabian Highway at As-Silah on the Qatar border. In 2002, there were 4,835 km (3,004 mi) of paved highways. Of registered vehicles in 2000, there were 745,315 passenger cars and 453,097 commercial vehicles. There are no railways or waterways in the United Arab Emirates.

The United Arab Emirates is well provided with port facilities. Dubai's Port Rashid, with its deep-water berths and warehouses, is one of the largest artificial harbors in the Middle East. Other ports are the Jabal 'Ali complex, also in Dubai, completed in 1980; Abu Dhabi's Port Zayid; Sharjah's Port Khalid; and the deepwater port at Ra's al-Khaimah. Sharjah constructed a new port at Khor Fakkan in the early 1980s; the Fujairah port became fully operational in 1983. Jabal 'Ali in Dubai is the largest man-made port in the world. In 2002, the merchant fleet consisted of 56 ships with a capacity totaling 833,401 GRT.

In 2001, there were 438 airports, of which 19 had paved runways. A new international airport in Abu Dhabi, on the mainland across from the island, opened in 1982. The other international airports in the United Arab Emirates are in Dubai, Sharjah, and Ra's al-Khaimah. In July 1991, a "cargo village" opened at Dubai Airport, designed to handle 250,000 tons of cargo per year by 1997. The village operations can transfer cargo received at the port into air containers ready for airlift in three hours, and have the facilities to handle frozen and hazardous goods. In 2001, 7,675,800 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.

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