Oman's first bus manufacturer Karwa Motors has rolled out its first Karwa-branded bus bearing the ‘Made in the Sultanate of Oman’ tag, called Salam, according to Omani media reports.
Karwa Motors is a joint venture between Mowasalat (Karwa), the state-owned transport company of Qatar, and Oman Investment Authority, Oman’s sovereign wealth fund, said reports in Times of Oman and Muscat Daily.
The rollout coincided with Oman's 51st National Day of the Renaissance celebrations as well as Sultan Haitham bin Tariq's visit to Qatar.
The company has a manufacturing facility in the Duqm Special Economic Zone, and the joint investment project between Qatar and Oman aims to produce 500 buses annually in its first phase.
The first phase of operations at the Karwa Motors facility will focus on manufacturing buses for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, the report said.
According to an earlier report in Gulf Times, the plant is designed to produce coach buses, city buses and school buses tailored for the local and regional markets.
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 Qatar's vision of enhancing the contribution of neighbouring countries to the success of this global event", the Omani reports state.
Hisham Ahmed al-Sheedi, acting director of Economic Diversification Investments, 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."
Dr Ibrahim Albalushi, chief executive officer of Karwa Motors, said: “Located on a 600,000sqm site, the manufacturing facility is outfitted with the latest in technology. It also houses several key sections, including a large warehouse to store raw materials, core workshops for cutting and welding, dyeing, and 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."
"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 Higer, one of the world's leading manufacturers of buses.”