H.E. Minister of Transport Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti stressed that the transport network in the country will be ready ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, in addition to five bus stations that were recently completed.
In an interview with the Qatari daily newspaper Al-Raya, H.E. the Minister said that five bus stations were recently completed, of which Al Sudan was the first to be inaugurated, while bus stations in Lusail, Al Wakra, the Industrial Area and Education City are ready to be handed over for operation in coordination with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal).
Bus stations will also be completed and become operational at Msheireb, Al Gharrafa and Central West Bay. It is expected that these stations will all be operational before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
In addition, construction works are underway to set up four bus depots in Al Wakra, the New Industrial Area, Lusail and Al Rayyan, which will be ready for handover by Ashghal during the third quarter of 2022. These will be equipped with some 650 electric charging stations.
Infrastructure works at the stations, as well as the docking of marine ferries, will be accomplished during the third quarter of 2022, making the whole transportation infrastructure complete and ready for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
His Excellency said that the Ministry of Transport, in coordination with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, has a plan to implement Transport Demand Management (TDM) and test the efficiency of this plan, which aims to reduce the traffic load not connected to activities of the FIFA World Cup, as well as after the event.
The plan aims to avoid the creation of expensive infrastructure for a short period during the tournament, reducing the need for private transportation, curb traffic congestion and delays, improve the currently available infrastructure and service quality, enhance the efficiency of public transportation, and encourage the use of environment-friendly and safe means of public transportation, in addition to encouraging the adoption of more sustainable types of transport such as walking and cycling, and suspending work in crowded areas during the peak phase of the tournament.
H.E. Minister pointed out that the Ministry has invested around QR 66.5 billion over the past few years to develop the Doha Metro network, QR 13.5 billion on the Lusail Tram and QR 4 billion to create the infrastructure necessary for electric buses.
Regarding the electric transformation plan for public transport, H.E. Minister said that the Ministry has begun implementing the plan to gradually transform the use of electric buses dedicated to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and after the tournament, to support the operations of the various public transport network and to improve the operation of the Doha Metro, in order to meet the requirements of Qatar National Vision 2030 to completely transform the fleet of environmentally-friendly electric buses.
Public transport is also heading towards more use of clean energy, as 25 percent of the buses designated for the FIFA World Cup will be fully electric, while 75 percent of the fleet will run on environment-friendly diesel (Euro 5). After the event is over, 65 percent of the public buses are set to be electric by 2023, and up to 86 percent by 2028 and 100 percent by 2030. For school buses, 18.5 percent of them will be electric by 2026-27 and 100 percent by 2030.
In addition, work is underway to establish a factory to assemble electric buses in the free zones in the country.
On the completion of the electric vehicle infrastructure, His Excellency said that the Ministry, in cooperation with the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa), has prepared the policy of electric and hybrid vehicles in Qatar, which is one of the pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030 on sustainable development, which seeks to ensure the continued decent living of the people of Qatar through the efficient use of natural resources and the diversity of energy sources, and to increase reliance on renewable energy, particularly in the transport sector, in order to improve the life of the individual, and ensure a clean and healthy environment for this generation and for future generations.
His Excellency stressed that the policy of electric and hybrid vehicles aims to support the nation's march towards a green future by providing the latest fuel-efficient transport systems, with the aim of reducing the volume of harmful carbon emissions, the most important of which are environmentally friendly electric vehicles, and encouraging individuals to own and use them in order to achieve Qatar National Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
Regarding Hamad International Airport (HIA) expansion project, H.E. the Minister of Transport said that the airport expansion plan is underway to achieve further growth and prosperity, enhance HIA's position as a global center for travel, achieve higher levels of excellence and development, and enhance travel experiences through upgrading level of operations and providing unique experience for all visitors, in addition to accommodating the growing network of the national carrier, Qatar Airways.
In his interview with Al-Raya newspaper, H.E. added that according to the stages of expansion, HIA will be able in the first phase to raise its capacity to more than 58 million passengers annually. This stage will be completed before Qatar hosts the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, H.E. explained, adding that the second phase of the expansion will start immediately after the end of the tournament with the airport's capacity reaching 60 million passengers annually.
Regarding the Doha Port redevelopment project and its transformation into a tourist marina, H.E. Minister of Transport Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti said that the comprehensive redevelopment process of Doha Port is in full swing, and is expected to be completed soon. This development will establish a pioneering infrastructure in the cruise ships sector in line with the highest international standards, which will consolidate Qatar's tourism position and contribute to handling the expected growth in the number of cruises during the coming period, especially with the approach of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, H.E. said.
H.E. pointed out that the Port witnessed the arrival of more than 200,000 tourists on board 60 cruise ships during the 2019-2020 tourist season, despite its disruption as a result of the precautionary measures applied to limit the COVID-19 outbreak, while the 2018-2019 season achieved a growth of 121 percent in the number of passengers, as a 100 percent increase in the number of cruise ships was recorded, with more than 140,000 passengers on board 44 ships arriving in Qatar. The current season 2021-2022 will witness the arrival of 76 cruises, which is the largest number recorded since the start of the transformation of Doha Port into a tourist port.
On the transformation of Hamad Port into a major station for trade in the Middle East and the most prominent future projects to continue its development and increase its capacity, H.E. Minister of Transport expressed his pride and satisfaction with the advanced position occupied by Hamad Port among regional and international ports, which would not have been achieved without the wise vision of H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and the support of the wise government. He continued by saying that the inauguration of Hamad Port marked a historic turning point in the State of Qatar, as it played an important role in providing an integrated infrastructure that supports the country's development plans and its strategy that aim at improving the quality of logistics services and building a competitive maritime transport sector that enhances Qatars position at the global maritime transport level.
H.E. added that the great potential and reliability that Hamad Port gained among international shipping companies has played a major role in enhancing Qatar's commercial share, adding that this can be proven by the standard handling rates and volumes achieved by the Port within a short period of its operation, as the Port managed to handle more than 6 million containers and nearly 13 million tons of general cargo.
He said that the Port has a commercial share of more than 28 percent in a region in the Middle East, and this share is expected to grow in the coming period, especially in light of the significant rise in transhipment containers, which recorded a growth of 36 percent for the second year in a row, to reach by the end of 2021 to more than half a million containers.
His Excellency explained that Hamad Port is characterized by a growing transport network that enhances efficient transportation and logistics services in the country and abroad, in addition to providing direct and indirect shipping services to more than 100 marine destinations spread across 3 global continents, ensuring the access of Qatari products to global markets and strengthening global confidence in the State of Qatar and its products.
He added that the initial operation of the second container terminal was recently launched at the Port, which will contribute to increasing its capacity by about three million containers per year. The development of the second container terminal consist of four phases, he explained, pointing out that the first and second phases will be fully operational before the end of 2022, and the third and fourth phases of the terminal will be developed later to increase the Port's operational capacity in accordance with the requirements of the local market. Work is also underway to complete the implementation of the strategic food security project, which will be an integrated system and one of the largest food security systems in the Middle East, H.E. added.
Cover image source: Al Raya
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