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    Ground breaking for Oman bus plant next month

    The Omani and Qatari promoters of a bus assembly plant project — the first of its kind in the Sultanate — will break ground on the landmark venture at a stone-laying ceremony set to be held at the Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on November 13, 2017. 

    Doha-based Karwa Automobiles, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qatari national transportation company Mowasalat, is a 70 per cent shareholder in Karwa Duqm, the joint venture company which is developing the Sultanate’s first automotive plant in Duqm. Oman Investment Fund (OIF), a sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate, owns the balance 30 per cent stake. Total investment in the venture is estimated at RO 160 million.
    Duqm 1
    Speaking ahead of the stone-laying event, a key official of the SEZ Authority of Duqm (SEZAD) described the project as exemplifying the SEZ’s investment appeal to international players. “This a very good example of the brotherly investment from Qatar and Oman in Duqm,” said Anwar Kahlan al Battashi, Urban Planning Manager at SEZAD. “This is an important investment in supporting the diversification of the economy. We are looking forward in the coming weeks at a stone-laying ceremony for this project,” he added in a presentation of SEZAD at a Construction & Infrastructure Awards event held in the city last week.

    Actual construction work on the project, which is coming up on a 100-hectare site at the SEZ, is expected to commence only sometime early next year. The project is currently in the design stage.
    When fully rolled out, Karwa Duqm will be capable of assembling as many as 2,000 units of various types of motor vehicles, including trucks, buses, vans and cars. Potential markets include the wider Middle East and Africa, among other destination. As many as 400 – 500 direct jobs will be created by the project as well.

    Karwa Duqm will be set up in the Medium Industrial Zone whose proximity to the Port of Duqm whose 2.2 kilometre commercial quay will include a roll-on/roll-off (RO-RO) terminal for the easy loading of vehicles into vehicle carriers.

    Conrad Prabhu - Oman Observer

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