Muscat: Karwa Motors, Sultanate of Oman's first bus brand with a manufacturing facility in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD), rolled out its first Karwa-branded bus proudly bearing the ‘Made in the Sultanate of Oman’ tag, named ‘Salam’.
Karwa Motors is a joint investment project between the Sultanate of Oman and the State of Qatar, which in its first phase aims to produce 500 buses annually. Karwa Motors is a joint venture between Mowasalat Qatar, the state-owned transport company of Qatar, owning a 70% share and Oman Investment Authority (OIA), owning the remaining 30%.
This partnership depicts the strong political and economic relations binding the two brotherly countries, which have been positively reflected in the wide range of successful cooperation projects over the years.
The first phase of operations at the Karwa Motors facility will focus on manufacturing buses for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Doha next year. Due to its strategic location close to the regional market, the project is well-positioned to contribute to the success of this global event by reducing workloads, shipping times, and storage costs.
Moreover, this step also reflects Mowasalat Qatar's vision in enhancing the contribution of neighbouring countries to the success of this global event.
Commenting on the rollout of the first-ever Karwa-branded bus, Hisham Ahmed al Sheedi, Acting Director of Economic Diversification Investments at OIA said, "The Karwa facility represents one of the most important strategic projects between Oman and Qatar. The two countries continue to seek potential investment opportunities across several vital and promising sectors underlining the strong ties between them and the shared interests that have been addressed regularly by both governments and people.
The OIA invests in such projects to not only support Oman's economic diversification efforts, but also move us closer towards realizing our vision of developing Oman's logistics sector and establishing Oman as an industrial hub for the region.
Moreover, the project will also help us as a nation enhance our technical expertise in the automotive sector and develop supplementary industries that will support its growth, including several new small and medium-sized businesses".
Commenting on the new facility in a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA), Dr Ibrahim al Balushi, CEO of Karwa Motors said, "Located on a 600,000 square metre site, the manufacturing facility is outfitted with the latest technology. It also houses several key sections, including a large warehouse to store raw materials, core workshops for cutting and welding, dyeing, equipment and motor assembly, a full-fledged inspection yard and testing facility, and a vast number of other auxiliary facilities. Our factory will also create job opportunities for Omanis, whether they are regular job seekers or have experience in the automotive field".
He further added, "The first phase of ramp-up will be focused on producing the first of three Karwa-branded buses "Salam", which will be used at the FIFA World Cup 2022. These buses are extremely advanced and can handle a variety of road conditions, as well as withstand the harshest weather conditions.
Next year, we will introduce the Intercity Coach and the City Bus with an annual production of 500 to 700 buses. Additionally, we have a strategic partnership in place with the Chinese company "Higer", one of the world's leading manufacturers of buses. Through Karwa Motor’s collaboration with leading global technology transfer partners, their new facility and buses will also see several innovations and industry-leading production practices and technologies make their way into Oman for the first time.
As a result, the facility is poised to set a high standard for all future production facilities in the country. Through its buses, Karwa Motors will offer customers a wide array of options, providing a practical solution for a variety of public transportation tasks, be it for cross-city or urban transport. Furthermore, Karwa Motors, in cooperation with Oman Investment Authority, is currently exploring the possibility of manufacturing electric buses and vehicles". --ONA