Muscat – Coinciding with the country’s 51st National Day celebrations, Karwa Motors has rolled out its first Karwa-branded bus proudly bearing the ‘Made in the Sultanate of Oman’ tag called ‘Salam’.
The company has a manufacturing facility in the Duqm Special Economic Zone.
The event also marks the start of manufacturing operations for the joint investment project between Oman and 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, and Oman Investment Authority’s sovereign wealth fund.
‘This partnership is, however, only one pearl in a string of economic ties between our two nations; ties that have been positively reflected in a wide range of successful cooperation projects over the years,’ stated a press release.
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 workload, shipping time and storage costs. Moreover, this development reflects Qatar’s vision of enhancing the contribution of neighbouring countries to the success of this global event.
Commenting on the roll out of the first-ever Karwa-branded bus, 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.
“The Oman Investment Authority invests in such projects to not only support Oman’s economic diversification efforts but also move us closer towards realising our vision of developing Oman’s logistics sector and establishing the sultanate as an industrial hub for the region. Moreover, the project will 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, Dr Ibrahim al Balushi, 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 material, 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 jobseekers 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.”
Karwa Motors, in cooperation with Oman Investment Authority, is currently exploring the possibility of manufacturing electric buses and vehicles.