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Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) signed a multilateral framework agreement with Yutong, one of the world’s largest bus and coach suppliers, and Mowasalat, the major transport services provider in Qatar, today. The deal will see electric-buses (e-buses) manufactured in the zones with the first e-buses produced for the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 and beyond. The deal is part of a wider Qatari initiative to ensure 25% of the public bus network is powered by electricity in time for the tournament, with the entire public fleet system expected to be e-powered by 2030.
The multilateral framework agreement was signed during a signing ceremony where other agreements were also formalized to facilitate the transformation of the e-vehicles industry in Qatar. The agreement was signed in the presence of the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, and His Excellency Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport and Communications, in addition to several ministers and senior officials in the concerned entities and executive officials from QFZA.
In accordance with the Agreement, Mowasalat and Yutong will partner to establish and operate the electric buses factory to deliver electric buses that will ferry World Cup visitors between stadiums, with the first cohort of these e-buses to be earmarked for export across the Middle East, Europe, South America and Africa. E-bus production for export to overseas markets will be a major focus once manufacturing output reaches full capacity.
The deal is a result of extensive discussions between QFZA officials, Mowsalat and representatives from the Chinese investors, following the signing of an agreement during His Highness The Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani’s visit to China in 2019 to establish a clean energy bus assembly factory in Qatar Free Zones. The deal will also see technology and knowledge transfers so parts for the e-buses will be manufactured by Qatari firms as part of the government’s wider localization drive. These firms are expected to form the foundations of the region’s leading e-vehicle industry, supplying e-vehicles and parts to markets across the globe.
Yutong’s arrival to the Umm AlHoul Free Zone adds to a growing cluster of companies within Qatar Free Zones that are addressing the growing demands for cleaner, more sustainable forms of transport. Qatar Free Zones operate in an extremely competitive market for FDI. Its growing e-vehicle cluster and the proven market demand and supply-chains that are supporting its growth are helping attract investors at a time when global FDI is down nearly 50% this year.
This strategic project will support Qatar’s long-term goals of transforming public transportation in the country to clean energy, and helps position the nation as leading regional player in the e-transport and mobility sector.
Welcoming the signing, H.E. Ahmad Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of QFZA, said: “The Qatar Free Zones have become a prominent destination for companies with a vision for the future. This agreement reflects QFZA’s commitment to tap on the nexus between emerging technologies and sustainable development which provide huge opportunities for the long-term economic development of Qatar. Besides helping to anchor an electric vehicle auto cluster, this project will provide opportunities to local businesses through the localization of contractors, service providers and suppliers. The production of E-buses for the national market showcases the attractive economic climate for international investors who can deliver what our market requires. The plans to export the E-buses underlines QFZ’s world-class logistics operations that connect us to key markets across the globe.”
As sustainability and carbon emissions become ever more central to the decisions of governments and consumers alike, the demand for electric-powered transport is only set to increase. To that end, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation “KAHRAMAA” has launched the Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure Guideline in Qatar, which will help facilitate the wholesale adoption of e-vehicles in Qatar.
This investment is also a clear sign that Qatar is an extremely attractive market for foreign investment in light of the various projects underway in the country, not least hosting the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 – the world’s biggest global sporting event – that is expected to attract a million and a half visitors from around the world. A significant number of those visitors will be making trips between stadiums and hotels on e-buses produced in Qatar Free Zones.