HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti said that the signing of several contracts pertaining to the transformation to environment-friendly vehicles comes within the framework of implementing the Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy the ministry developed with the bodies concerned. This is a key part of Qatar's Public Transportation Plan 2030 as well as an integral part of our government's plans in terms of enacting the laws and regulatory policies that make projects successful and sustainable.
In a statement on the sidelines of the contracts signing ceremony, HE al-Sulaiti affirmed that such steps would enhance Qatar's ranking as a pioneer in the area of clean energy mass transit, becoming one of the very first countries in the world having an integrated electric bus system, in addition to boosting the potential value of the legacy of the FIFA World Cup 2022 bus system for creating a positive legacy. That clearly demonstrates Qatar is committed to deploying global clean energy solutions on transportation and determined to host an exceptional, eco-friendly, carbon-neutral championship, he noted.
"Signing contracts with pioneering private sector companies to establish essential EV infrastructure emphasises the ministry's unwavering attention to State directions for reinforcing the participation of the private sector in government developmental projects and encouraging its partaking in mobility and transportation projects in such a way that helps enrich private sector companies' investment mentality, thus boosting the localisation of expertise and the technology in use," the minister noted.
Welcoming the signing, HE the Minister of State and Chairman of Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) Ahmad al-Sayed said: "The Qatar Free Zones have become a prominent destination for companies with a vision for the future. This agreement reflects QFZA's commitment to tap on the nexus between emerging technologies and sustainable development which provide huge opportunities for the long-term economic development of Qatar. Besides helping to anchor an electric vehicle auto cluster, this project will provide opportunities to local businesses through the localisation of contractors, service providers and suppliers."
"The production of e-buses for the national market showcases the attractive economic climate for international investors who can deliver what our market requires. The plans to export the e-buses underlines QFZ's world-class logistics operations that connect us to key markets across the globe," HE al-Sayed added.
HE Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) Hassan al-Thawadi said the gradual and full transformation to an electric bus system is a significant development with regards to transportation strategies for the FIFA World Cup 2022 as the SC endeavours to provide sustainable, economical, eco-friendly transit solutions during the championship.
He added that the FIFA World Cup 2022 has become one of the national catalysts to accelerate projects' execution pace. He said that signing the contract with Mowasalat (Karwa) will ensure providing all operational services for electric buses as well as managing them ideally, plus providing all security and safety requirements, something which promises a unique experience for the World Cup fans and Qatar's guests in 2022.
Al-Thawadi stressed that the concept of organising a carbon-neutral championship is reflected in the integration that we are currently witnessing between multiple modes of transport and providing sustainable and environment-friendly solutions that help reduce carbon emissions to the lowest level, such as the electric bus system, and linking it to the advanced Doha Metro system, smart and innovative transport solutions, and what the State has implemented in terms of huge projects for highways and development of internal roads.
On his part, HE President of (Public Works Authority) Ashghal Eng Saad bin Ahmed al-Mohannadi, confirmed that Ashghal has signed 11 new contracts worth of QR2bn for building bus stations and warehouses. The Ashghal president also clarified that these contracts are entrusted to Qatari companies within the framework of government's directives to support national companies and the assigned companies have proven efficiency in implementing works entrusted to them recently. He further pointed out Ashghal's co-operation with all concerned entities in the State to provide integrated road network with distinct infrastructure and common facilities such as parking lots and others, to serve every means of public transportation in the country including metro and buses.
On his part, Mowasalat (Karwa) CEO Fahad Saad al-Qahtani said: "Qatar's transport sector is witnessing a breakthrough in preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2022. Mowasalat provides modern, comfortable and eco-friendly solutions using the latest technology for a first-class mobility infrastructure. We will be one of the mainstays in the process of transporting fans, athletes and guests through the largest bus operation in the history of sports tournaments. Applying the latest technology in smart fleet management will ensure distinct, free, smooth and safe rides. We are currently purchasing 3,000 new buses for the FIFA World Cup 2022 , which will then be added to the company's fleet to build a legacy for the public and school transport. They also form an integral part of our transport fleet for major events that will be hosted by Qatar in the future."
Al-Qahtani pointed out that more than 25% of these new buses will be electric, which makes the deal one of the largest of its kind in the world and proves to be a leap towards public transport sustainability. This is a part of MOTC's strategy to provide a world-class, integrated multimodal system that provides safe, reliable and eco-friendly services. Overall, this will improve Qatar's international position in the field of environmental sustainability in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.
As for contracts, Mowasalat (Karwa) signed two of them to purchase buses to put in service during the FIFA World Cup 2022; one with Yutong for 741 electric buses and 261 diesel buses and the second with Higer to purchase 1,815 diesel buses. These buses are powered by the new eco-friendly diesel. SC signed a contract with Karwa for providing operational services for such buses and their facilities, in addition to providing the smart technology and techniques to manage the bus fleet. Additionally, the contract stipulates the provision of all safety and security requirements, essential transportation plans and necessary consultation services. These contracts are estimated at nearly QR 3.7bn.
QFZA signed a multilateral framework agreement with Yutong and Mowasalat to manufacture electric-buses (e-buses) in Umm Al Houl Free Zone, with the first e-buses produced for the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022. A number of these e-buses will be earmarked for export across the Middle East, Europe, South America and Africa. The deal will also see technology and knowledge transfers so parts for the e-buses will be manufactured by Qatari firms as part of the government's wider localisation drive. These firms are expected to form the foundations of the region's leading e-vehicle industry, supplying e-vehicles and parts to markets across the globe.
Ashghal signed 11 new contracts worth QR2bn for building bus stations and bus depots, as part of the public bus infrastructure programme. The new bus stations and bus depots programme implemented by the Buildings Projects Department of Ashghal includes building eight main bus stations in West Bay, Musheireb, Industrial Area, Al Soudan, Al Gharrafa, Education City, Al Wakra and Lusail, with average capacity of 25 buses in each of the stations. The contracts also include building four huge bus depots in Lusail, Al Rayyan, Industrial Area and Al Wakra, and the area of each depot ranges from 129,000sqm to 190,000sqm.
Within these contracts, Ashghal will also build 2,700 bus stops on all major roads, to serve thousands of passengers in many areas to use public buses. These bus stops with air-conditioned cabins will facilitate passengers to wait inside and prevent effects of bare sunlight and humidity.
By 2022, 25% of the public transit bus fleet in Qatar will have become electric. Public buses, government school buses and Doha Metro feeder buses will gradually shift to electrification, thus hitting the rollout percentage that is required to reduce harmful carbon emissions from buses by 2030, in addition to honouring the concerted efforts that aim to maintain the environmental sustainability. The electrified buses are planned to be used during the FIFA World Cup 2022 , making it a second-to-none championship where electric mass transit buses are deployed.
As part of strategic plans, MOTC coordinates with several government entities to install and operate EV charging units this year and the coming one. It also coordinates with private sector companies to provide a number of charging units for free to be installed at locations to be specified by MOTC -- and perform periodic maintenance for them -- in addition to establishing the region's largest solar-powered electric charging station in Lusail City, which will be connected to all stations.
Furthermore, several EV parking spaces will be established and work is underway to include this project in released tendering.
As per the strategy, such a shift will support building an infrastructure for an integrated, multimodal electric public transportation system in the country and the first of its kind in the region. Several permanent depots, distributed on a well-considered geographical order, will be established in various areas across the country. They will include facilities for parking and charging and maintenance equipment, in addition to administration buildings and staff and drivers' accommodation, which will be completed during 2022, plus several main stations that also support electrified transportation services.
The strategy backs the country's agenda for a greener future and contributes to striking an economic-environmental balance in a way that ensures transportation sector's infrastructure projects sustainability, supporting economic growth and making the most out of the natural resources by increasing the revenues of oil and gas sectors and developing the means of transportation though deploying clean and alternative energy in step with latest universal eco-friendly systems to reduce carbon emissions and, therefore, create a clean, healthy and safe environment for generations to come.