A large fleet of world-class CNG-fueled luxury buses manufactured by Swedish firm Scania is expected to hit Qatari roads much ahead of the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Ambassador of Sweden to Qatar, Ewa Polano, has said.
“We hope to supply the fleet of buses that Qatar is looking forward to acquiring. We have very good buses manufactured by Scania and Volvo. The Scania buses are known for their luxury and high quality. These state-of-the-art environment-friendly luxury buses are expected to arrive in Qatar by early 2021 latest,” Ambassador Polano told The Peninsula.
Qatar had last year announced plans to replace the existing fleet of diesel buses used for public transport as part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and preparations for the mega event in line with the long-term vision.
It is not clear whether these buses will be run and maintained by Karwa or some other company, but a senior official of the company added that Scania is working in cooperation with Karwa (Mowasalat), but things will be clearer once the products actually arrive in Qatar.
“The bilateral relations between Qatar and Sweden has never been better than today.
Our two-way trade exchange (export and import) with Qatar is increasing. We had last year an increase of over 32 percent in bilateral trade volume compared to the previous year”, Ambassador Polano added.
We have many-many projects coming in. For example we have had the participation of Volvo construction equipment and Scania heavy vehicles (trucks and buses). We are trying to present what Qatar needs at the moment that is Scania gas-powered buses. We also are very much involved in Qatar’s transformation with regard to economic diversification. So we are trying to boost the economic cooperation between different entities, and we are very happy to see the growing cooperation between Arab Agencies Company (ARACO) with Volvo, Scania and others.”
Scania AB, a fully-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen, is a major Swedish manufacturer of commercial vehicles – specifically heavy trucks and buses. It has also established partnership with a local firm (Qatari Canadian Co) to provide fuel-efficient Scania engines that are famous for low emissions and other environment-friendly features. These engines are being used to manufacture generators in Qatar, which were showcased at the recently-concluded Project Qatar 2019 expo.
“We are providing technology and know-how from Sweden which Qatar is actually looking for. And we are committed to enhance the level of cooperation in all fields,” noted the Swedish envoy.
Polano added: “There is an express need from the highest level in Qatar, including the Minister of State for Energy Affairs H E Al Kaabi, who is so conscious about the environment and sustainability. Since Qatar has huge reserves of natural gas, therefore, it’s logical to have all the buses run on gas. We have the best technology in our buses and now we are developing for gas.”
Swedish, German and many other European manufacturing giants such as Scania, Volvo and many other companies are represented here in Qatar by ARACO, which showcased many of its products at the expo.
Asked if the buses will be assembled here or imported in ready-to-use condition, Walid Dowidar, General Manager at ARACO, said: “I cannot say much about it, but what I can add is that we put all our technology to help and support for the development of Qatari society. The Scania engines are already being used in manufacturing generators in Qatar, and for other things we have plans that will be announced at the right time.”
On developing needful infrastructure in Qatar such as CNG refueling stations, he said that there are many partners involved in this project that are working in close cooperation with Qatari authorities and stakeholders, and ARACO is one of them.
Ambassador Polano, who is one of the most active ambassadors in Qatar, noted that the Qatar-Sweden relations have been witnessing strong developments in many areas, including IT, healthcare, life-science, research and development, innovation, education among other areas.
In early March, local telecom giant Ooredoo signed a cooperation agreement with Swedish tech major Ericson which will be contributing in developing 5G network across the country. And another Swedish company Olink AB signed an agreement with Qatar Biomedical Research Institute which is expected to be celebrated and formally announced within this month.
“We see an increase in direct trade between Qatar and Sweden. The environmental technology, waste-management, renewable energy and some other areas, we see a strong interest from Qatar at this moment. Sweden is also contributing in infrastructure projects and soon we are expecting it to see big jump in operations in this area,” said Polano.
Source from: The Peninsula