3D PrintingNewsUAE

3D Printed Abra Part of Dubai’s Water Transport Revamp

In a major thrust to Dubai’s marine transport, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, has approved the Dubai Marine Transport Master Plan 2030.

The plan includes a 188% expansion of the marine transport network, a 400% increase in passenger lines, and the manufacturing of the world’s first electric abra (traditional boat) using 3D printing technology.

World’s First 3D Printed Abra

During his visit to the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), Sheikh Hamdan reviewed the master plan for scaling up Dubai’s marine transport system through to 2030. This included the RTA’s innovative project to manufacture the world’s first electric abra using 3D printing technology in collaboration with the private sector. With a capacity to carry 20 passengers, the sleek 3D printed abras will combine modern features with traditional elements of the original wooden abras. Aligned with the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy, the project will cut manufacturing time by 90%, enabling 30% in cost savings. The prototype is expected to be ready by February 2024.

Other Key Elements of the Master Plan

Mattar Al Tayer, RTA’s Director General and Chairman of the Board of Directors, gave an overview of the key aspects of the plan. The plan targets to increase the number of marine transport commuters by 51%, from 14.7 million to 22.2 million annually by 2030. It also outlines an increase in the total length of the marine network, from 55 km to 158 km by the same period.

The plan’s well thought-out strategy will see the number of marine transport stations go up from 48 to 79, along the Dubai Creek, Dubai Water Canal, the Arabian Gulf coastline, and various waterfront projects. The plan will also see a 400% surge in passenger transport lines from seven to 35, as well as a 32% expansion of the marine transport fleet from 196 to 258 vessels.

The Crown Prince also reviewed the operational metrics and performance of RTA’s Al Garhoud Marine Maintenance Centre, the biggest marine maintenance facility in the region for abras, ferries, and water taxis. Inaugurated in 2018, the maintenance facility, comprising five distinct workshops, has aided RTA marine crafts to operate at peak efficiency, provided technical training to UAE nationals specializing in marine transport maintenance, slashed maintenance costs by 50%, enhanced the quality of repairs, bolstered marine transport by 99%, has prolonged the lifespan of ferries and water taxis by 25%, and offers seamless marine maintenance services to both government and private entities.

Sheikh Hamdan was also briefed on the predictive maintenance system for marine transport modes where remote monitoring devices and sensors are installed on board, validating the precision of data and thereby greatly enhancing safety. He was also apprised about the trial run of the world’s first autonomous electric abra that successfully completed its unmanned journey from Al Jaddaf Station to Dubai Festival City Marine Transport Station, clearing level 4 of the international autonomous driving index. Sheikh Hamdan also met with Hanadi Al Doseri, the first Emirati woman to captain a mass marine transport vessel.

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