News

  • Latest Travel News: Saudi Arabia's New Tourist Visa Program Open Doors to Leisure Travel & DIY Umrah

    More than just a country for pilgrims, Saudi Arabia has finally opened its doors to tourists. With hopes to diversify the economy away from oil, Saudi Arabia has finally opened its doors to tourists from 49 states to visit one of the worlds most unexplored destinations. During an event in Ad-Diriyah, Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Heritage, Ahmad Al-Khateeb, announced the launch of a new tourist visa program to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Tourists from these 49 states can now obtain their own visa online, on arrival, from embassies and consulates. Travelers can now obtain one-year or multiple-entry visas that allow them to enter the country for up to 90 days. Each visa costs 440 Riyal. Following the launch, Saudi Arabia has also announced that the country will issue fines for 19 offenses related to public decency within the kingdom. These violations include littering, spitting, queue jumping, taking photographs and videos of people without permission and playing music at prayer times. Female tourists will also have to be modestly dressed according to the law. Women can now wear colorful abayas that are loose-fitting. We are opening Saudi Arabia to our guests, we want them to come and we dont want anyone to pre-judge. We want them to come and experience Saudi Arabia and how welcoming is Saudi Arabia. We are very sure they will find a great experience an authentic experience, said Saudi Tourism Chairperson Ahmad Al-Khateeb in an interview with CNBC International TV. With the launch of visas, Saudi Arabia is starting plans on expanding the tourism industry in the kingdom. This includes the partnership with Qiddiya and the Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, one of the biggest regional theme park company in the world, to venture on the first and largest theme park in Saudi Arabia, located just outside Riyadh. The theme park was said to be completed by the beginning of 2023. With partnership plans with industry leaders from the hospitality and entertainment sectors, Al Qiddiya is envisioned to be the biggest entertainment city around the world. Saudi Tourism Chairperson Ahmad Al-Khateeb also said that the kingdom aims to increase the percentage of gross domestic product from 3 percent to 10 percent by 2030. Mastercard-Crescent Rating Halal Travel Frontier 2019 Report leased in January already predicted that the The Umrah and Hajj segment has been ripe for disruption for some time. 2019 will see an accelerated momentum in this direction. The disruption will happen in a number of fronts enabled by technology; disruption of the traditional Umrah operators role, training of pilgrims to perform the rites and helping in the performance of the rites itself. Though the list of eligible countries has not been finalized, the Saudi Government has already announced that the eVisa will be available to citizens of the: Australia, Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brunei, Canada, China (including Hong Jong and Macau), Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco,, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

  • Acer’s Predator Thronos gaming chair wins gold at Computex d&i Awards 2019

    Acer recently announced that it has been honored with seven 2019 Computex di awards in recognition for design excellence, in the categories of Gaming Hardware, Information and Communication Hardware, AR, VR and Content, and IoT categories. Among them, the Predator Thronos has won the Computex di Gold award, and the Smart Parking Meter System has won the Computex di Specialty award. Other award winners include the Predator Triton 900 gaming notebook, the ConceptD 500 high-end desktop, the thin-and-light Swift 7, the Acer OJO 500 Windows Mixed Reality Headset, and the aiSage edge computing device. A total of 222 entries from 90 companies were assessed by a 20-person jury of multi-disciplines, including academia, venture capital, industrial design, media, and more.

  • TAITRA signs business MoU with Kosovo Chamber of Commerce

    Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) President and Chief Executive Walter Yeh on June 20 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chamber of Commerce of Kosovo President Berat Rukiqi that will further improve business cooperation. Kosovo, in the central Balkan Peninsula, gained independence from Serbia in 2008 and has a population of 2 million. Yeh said Kosovo still faces challenges after gaining its independence in 2008, but TAITRA is pleased to cooperate with Kosovo in sectors which Taiwan is well positioned in, such as ICT, auto parts, machinery, chemistry, and textiles. Rukiqi said Kosovos demand for ICT products has been increasing every year. Established in 1962, the Chamber of Commerce of Kosovo has 16,000 members and is one of the most influential business groups in Kosovo, according to TAITRA.

  • Taipei International Industrial Automation Exhibition 2019

    Industrial automation Increases Quality and Flexibility in Your Manufacturing Process. UNi-CROWN Co., Ltd. is a professional manufacturer, specializing in Oilless Vacuum Pumps and Oilless Air Compressors, DC Air Pumps, Silent Air Compressors. UNi-CROWN is specialized in manufacturing oilless vacuum pumps and air compressors. Featuring the design of oilless and low noise running level, our pumps are being widely used in automatic machinery (electronic industry, packaging industry, Automotive, printing machine, exposure machine). UNi-CROWN provides vacuum system solutions for the automated world, helping thousands of end users and machine producers in robotic gripping, vacuum conveying, Automated pick-and-place, Blister, Ergonomic lifter, Labelling and Decoration machines, Transfer tablet/fragile material, gripping systems, and other manufacturing industries to improve energy efficiency, productivity and working environments. UNi-CROWN offers a variety of gripping systems solutions for both industrial and lightweight robotics. Applications for Vacuum Technology in Robotics like Pick-and-place applications, Loading, and unloading of machines and systems, Palletizing and depalletizing applications, Assembly processes, for example in body shops in the automotive industry, Automated warehouses. Taipei International Industrial Automation Exhibition 2019 Show Dates: August 14 (Wed.) - August 17 (Sat.), 2019 Venue: Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Hall 1 14F, Hall 2 4F UNi-CROWN Booth: K022, K023

  • Taiwan’s NTHU and iStaging introduce smart 3D panorama reconstruction

    The researchers at College of Electronic Engineering Computer Science, National Tsing Hua University (NTHU-EECS) collaborated with iStaging Corp. (iStaging), connecting experts from both academic and industry community, and completed the study of Smart 3D Panorama Reconstruction. The study creates immersive experiences in viewing house tours with virtual reality technologies for users at their homes via myriads of panoramic images taken by iStaging. The iStaging indoor panoramic image house tour recorded by a mobile device, more and more real estate agents and platforms around the world, for instance, Yung-Ching Realty, HB Realty, Zillow or Redfin, provide remote house tour services to greatly increase the access rate of the object and speeding up the transaction process. A large number of house buyers or potential tenants can take tours online. However, various similar real estate house tour services have sprung up. Our competitive technology brings users a new experience to explore the online house tour just like the real house visits -- being able to move around in three dimensions. Through the 3D space technology, not only the consumer experience is improved, but the content generation process simplification and cost reduction is a breakthrough for the developers and agents. Therefore, NTHU started to collaborate with iStaging and conducted Smart 3D Panorama Reconstruction research under Digital Economy Project of Department of Engineering and Technologies, MOST. The most eye-catching improvement features that we only need one panoramic image to build an indoor 3D layout leveraging novel machine learning technique. They further merry smart reconstruction with virtual reality to provide user a realistic sense of 3D and visually immersive experience. Current capture solutions depend on expensive Lidar equipment to acquire indoor depth information and massive laboring to complete 3D indoor layout modeling. Their research enables a high-end online house tour experience with a single panoramic image, which implies a considerable cost reduction in human resources and hardware expenses. Furthermore, it sustains scalability to enable penetration through the market, and more importantly, brings the online house tour service into our daily lives. This breakthrough technology can be effectively extended to overseas markets through iStaging's current business network of house agents in more than 50 countries around the world. To fully leverage the power of industrial-standard data provided by iStaging, 2500 pieces of indoor panoramic images are used for training and testing. Comparing to the state-of-the-art, namely LayoutNet, the technology brings an impressive 15% accuracy increase in terms of 2D and 3D IoU. The research has been accepted by the top-tier conference on computer vision and will be officially published in California later this June.

  • Taiwan Expo 2019 in India to Show Smart Living in Taiwan

    As urbanization advances, developing countries are trying to solve city management issues using technology. As a result, developing smart cities is a core policy being promoted by governments. Smart City Mission is an urban renewal and retro-fitting program developed by the Indian government, which aims to develop 100 cities across the country. The estimated project investment is $3 billion dollar by 2022. By providing citizens with a friendly and sustainable environment, potential industrial innovations and economic development are limitless. Taiwan has a robust smart city industry equipped with an entire ICT supply chain, vast experience in research and manufacturing that serves as its foundation, and abundant smart city applications. Taiwan provides its urban residents with a variety of convenient smart living solutions. India Taiwan Expo, organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), kicked off on May 16 at the Pragati Maidan Exhibition Center in the countrys capital, New Delhi. The three-day-exhibition not only attracted 20,000+ Indian visitors who can further understand Taiwans different culture, and software and hardware industries, but also created a bridge among Indian government agents, buyers and Taiwanese companies. The India Taiwan Expo saw itsIoT Smart LivingPavilion exhibiting 10 Taiwanese companies, including ITRI, PaKing, JS Power, OmniEyes, and more. These companies focus on smart transportation, smart security and safety, and smart home. ITRI demonstrated SWAGO, an electric motor vehicle sharing system, which meets both the local public and government needs. On the one hand, local buyers showed great interest to further discuss cooperation and technique exchange. On the other hand, Indias government is promoting an electric-power vehicle policy to solve air pollution. In this regard, the prime ministers office led the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and Investment Department to understand the feasibility of feature application. With large domestic market demand, India has plenty of business opportunities. TAITRA helps Taiwanese companies explore new business opportunities in the global market.

  • Taiwan Green Industry International Media Day 2019

    In order to promote Taiwans green industry to the international market, Ministry of Economic Affairs commissioned TAITRAs international green promotion arm Green Trade Project Office (GTPO) to implement the Green Trade Promotion Program inviting media reporters from Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Turkey Germany to Taiwan from May 19 to May 23, 2019. Invited media included German electric car magazine Emobility tec, Turkish trade magazine Anadolu Agency, Indias professional energy magazine, Terra Green Magazine, Thailand green industry media GreenNews Agency, Viet Nam Clean Energy Magazine and Malaysias Asia Success. On May 20thTAITRA held the Taiwan Green Industry International Media Day at 3F in Taipei International Convention Center (TICC). To provide more business opportunities, GTPO also arranged green industry company visits to leading Taiwanese companies from the afternoon of May 19 and continued until May 23. There were nine company visits, including Energy Storage/Energy Saving electronics giants Delta Lite-On, Lithium battery storage Molicel; Energy Creation solar companies United Renewable Energy (URE), Eterbright; Recycling companies included Everclear which produces industrial water treatment technologies, Spring Pool Glass, the largest glass recycling company in Taiwan, Oright which makes organic shampoos including the famous Oright Recoffee products; Environmental Equipment company Ecove which produces power through incineration of wastes. On the competitiveness of Taiwan's green industry, Director Chiu pointed out that because Taiwan's solar energy industry has a complete supply chain and high RD capabilities, with global production ranking second after the merger of three solar companies into United Renewable Energy (URE) last year, the solar supply chain is even more complete. This helps Taiwan's solar industry to be more competitive globally. As the demand for renewable energy and electric vehicles increase, global demand for lithium batteries will continue to expand. The energy storage industry export in Taiwan grew more than 30% last year. Furthermore, after 20 years of hard work, Taiwans recycling performance was recognized by the Wall Street Journal and the British research institute Eunomia. In 2017, the recycling rate was as high as 58%, ranking 5th in the world, led by recycling giants such as Far East New Century, Spring Pool Glass, and Enrestec. The companies achievements are well-known in the world, and highly innovative companies such as TCI Co., Ltd. (Bioscience) was the first Taiwanese company to receive the prestigious United Nations RE100 award by turning agricultural wastes such as banana peel, peanut shells, kitchen wastes, etc. into high value-added biomedical products. During the forum, Andy Shen, URE Module Business President, Dr. Steve Hsiao from E-One Moli Energy, William Kuo, Everlights GM Office Consultant, and Remi Lee, TCIs Chief Sustainability Officer shared insights and observations on future markets, development trends, industrial advantages, and successful overseas business development experiences. Last year, United Renewable Energy (URE), which emerged from the merger of three solar companies has received many orders for new solar energy projects. URE is committed to expanding their solar module and system business. Steve Hsiao, Technical Service Sales Division Director at E-One Moli Energy Technology stated that Taiwan has strong IT, and that their products emphasize safety. They feel optimistic about future development of the market driven by global developments in renewable energy and EV. In face of the trade war between the United States and China, they have received many new orders. William Kuo, GM Office Consultant at Everlight thanked TAITRA in helping them establish cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), making it the first Taiwanese company to obtain a large-scale government procurement case in Kazakhstan. Remi Lee, Chief Sustainability Officer of TCI Co., Ltd. was invited to speak at the UN Climate Change Summit, said for a company to be selected for RE100, a certain proportion of electricity supply must come from renewable energy. TAITRA still has many overseas events this year in the countries mentioned, including ThaiWater, VietWater, Taiwan-Turkey Green Energy Forum, Renewable Energy India (REI), etc. By inviting the international media to Taiwan, knowledge of Taiwans green products is disseminated, interaction and bilateral cooperation are also facilitated. For more information on TAITRAs events, or signing up: (Tel: +886-2-27255200 ext. 1250-1262, E-mail: [email protected], Website:http://www.greentrade.org.tw)

  • Taiwan Pavilion – Project Greening Qatar

    Qatar, ranked the richest country in 2018, launched Project Qatar, its 16thInternational Construction Technology and Building Materials Exhibition today, April 29, 2019 at Doha Exhibition Convention Center (DECC). A total of 508 exhibitors from 33 countries around the world participated in the exhibition. On the first day of the launch of the Taiwan Pavilion, Eng. Yousef Al Emadi, from Qatars Public Works Authority, expressed high interest in products from Sunmade, which need no electricity, are wireless and more environmentally friendly than LEDs. Because the new light particles have good optical refraction and wide-area light absorption characteristics, the loss is nearly 0%. Mr. Emadi said that they are willing to arrange a road section in Qatar for testing the products. If the results are good, they will follow-up by purchasing. In addition, the electronically controlled glass from SD Optronics can shield ultraviolet rays by more than 95% and can display transparent or opaque to provide privacy. It attracted great interest from people working in places with strong sunshine, bringing lots of inquiries. Other Taiwanese exhibitors showed optimism towards the business opportunities brought about by this exhibition. Chen Chun-Wei, Business Manager of Sun Road Safety Tech. said that speaking to many local Qatar agents and Philippine companies, theyve expressed that demand for road materials was strong, and the market potential far exceeded his expectations. Fu Chen Ceramic products have properties of moisture absorption, heat insulation and light-weight. Currently, the technical aspect is very unique, and they have no competitors. General Manager Wen-Cheng Shih said that the agents in Turkey and Jordan expressed high interest in their products. Taiwan Trade Centre-Dubai making some research on the market before the exhibition, discovered that as Qatar will organize the 2022 World Cup, construction will take place in Khalifa, Al Bayt, Al Khor City, QF, Al Rayyan, Al Wakra, Fifth Precint, Fourth Precint, Lusail Iconic among others. There are already 27 local companies whom have won bids. In addition, the MRT project brings public works such as road works and new hotels, including building materials, lighting, security control, water treatment, and hardware tools. TAITRA, the executing body under Ministry of Economic Affairs' "Green Trade Promotion Program", in addition to assisting green building materials manufacturers, also arranged for a meeting with Qatar Green Building Council one day before the exhibition. CEO Mr. Mashal Al Shamri, received the delegation and gave a short introduction to the local green development which is growing at a very high pace, and spent time to learn about the Taiwanese products one by one. TAITRA will arrange for a product conference during the exhibition, and also arrange to negotiate with buyers. It is expected to attract more than 50 important local buyers to improve the visibility of Taiwan's green building materials in the Middle East market. The 2019 Project Qatar will be held from April 29th to May 1st. It will be divided into five major exhibition areas, including Heavy Max, Qatar Stone Tech, Smart District, Lighting Tech, Interior Fit Out. Products including construction machinery, stone materials, smart solutions, lighting, home decor, etc. Exhibitors of Taiwan Pavilion are not limited to only the companies already mentioned, but also Aberdeen Decorations imitation stone paint, Jinwei Green Building Materials light steel frame, Mosias green products i.e. wood flooring without formaldehyde, and Rainbow House paints, etc. This exhibition of Taiwan's finest products is expected to be the eye-catch of Taiwan Pavilion. Compared with the 30 countries and 421 exhibitors in 2018, the growth rate is nearly 20%. Although the number of visitors has yet to be available, the exhibition last year brought more than 14,181 professional buyers. The organizer IFP Group has been in the Middle East and in the business of organizing professional building materials exhibitions. It has successfully handled important exhibitions such as Project Iran and Saudi Build. Main Contact: TAITRA Eugenia Hung, Senior Project Manager 008862-2725-5200 #1256 Supervisor: TAITRA Hui-Li Chiu, Executive Director 008862-2725-5200#1500

  • Malaysia’s approved investments up 3.1% to RM53.9b in Q1

    Malaysia registered a total of RM53.9 billion approved investments in the manufacturing, services and primary sectors for the first quarter of 2019 (Q1 2019), 3.1% higher than the RM52.3 billion recorded in the same period last year. Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) said in a statement that the growth was mainly driven by the robust performance of the manufacturing sector, which jumped 126.8% compared with Q1 2018. Foreign investments increased 73.4% to RM29.3 billion in Q1 2019 from RM16.9 billion. Meanwhile, domestic investments approved in Q1 2019 amounted to RM24.6 billion, contributing 45.6% to the total. The investments approved in January-March period were from 1,678 projects, and are expected to generate more than 41,200 job opportunities for the country. MIDA said the manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share of total potential employment in the economy with 22,970 job opportunities or 55.7%, followed by the services sector with 18,000 job opportunities (43.7%) and primary sector with 240 employment opportunities (0.6%).

  • Customer applications: Medium Oilless Vacuum Pump UN-200V

    Product:Medium Oilless Vacuum Pump Model:UN-200V Instructions: With the vacuum pump, the vacuum processing is processed by adsorption, so that the non-magnetic adsorbable material and the workpiece processing problem that is afraid of pinching can be solved. website link https://unicrown.en.taiwantrade.com/product/oil-less-vacuum-pump-un-200v-680mmhg-200lpm-1798731.html

  • Green concerns and incentives drive demand for e-motorbikes in Taiwan

    Environmental awareness and government incentives are driving production of electric motorcycles in Taiwan, which reached a record high of 91,000 in 2018, posting year-on-year growth of 81.8 percent. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the number of motorbikes in Taiwan has declined over the past two years. Prices climbed to US$1,740 (NT$54,600) per vehicle on average last year. In 2018, 856,000 gas-powered motorbikes hit the market, accounting for 90.4 percent of the total motorcycle market. The figure was down 8.2 percent from 2015. Conversely, demand for e-motorbikes has hiked since 2015, with the number of vehicles produced increasing every year. The rising trend can be attributed to growing environmental awareness, measures such as subsidies and tax cuts, as well as stepped up efforts by manufacturers to invest in the development of electric vehicles, said MOEA. Price cuts and an expanded network of charging and maintenance stations have also helped drive up e-motorbike sales in Taiwan. Between January and March in 2019, the island has seen an additional 23,000 such vehicles on the streets, or a 73.1 percent rise compared to the same period last year.

  • QATAR NATIONAL BANK ISSUES U.S. DOLLAR-DENOMINATED BONDS WORTH $1 BILLION

    Qatar National Bank issued U.S. dollar-denominated bonds worth $1 billion dollars, state news agency QNA said on Thursday.

  • Landmark Group to open new Oasis Mall in Sharjah

    The retail and hospitality conglomerate said the mall, located on Al Wahda Street, will have over 45 retail stores - including Carrefour, Home Centre, Emax, Max and Fun City - spread over a total area of over 650,000 square feet across three floors. The retail hub will also include a 10-screen cinema operated by Cinpolis the first entry to the UAE market for worlds fourth largest cinema operator, which also has a cinema in Bahrain. Aarti Jagtiani, group director, Landmark Group, said, We recently opened malls in Oman (Sohar) and Bahrain (Juffair) and now with the addition of this mall [in Sharjah], we are expanding our footprint to 10 malls across 4 countries. In line with our brand promise, the mall will cater to the local community and serve our customers with a complete and convenient retail experience, where they can shop, meet and socialise.

  • Saudi tourism authority seeks to boost number of Saudis in tourism sector

    The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), represented by the National Center for Human Resources Development (Takamul), participated in the third employment forum organized by the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation in Taif. Our objective is to raise the number of Saudi nationals in tourism, and to raise local public awareness about the prospects of tourist activities, which are considered one of the most important sectors of employment for young Saudis, said Mohammed Al-Boqmi, the director of SCTH in Taif. During the forum, Takamul representatives presented employment and training panels to the audience. They also ran a training program, Skills of preparing and presenting CVs, for young people searching for job opportunities in the tourism sector. Takamul cooperates with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to encourage young people to apply for jobs in tourism. Recently, the SCTHs branch in the Kingdoms Tabuk region issued licenses to three Saudi women after they underwent special training. According to a Takamul report, since its launch 474 female students have benefitted from the Your Job ... Your Scholarship program, and 9,631 have taken part in training provided as part of the National Transformation Program 2020. The report also noted that 205 female tour guides took part in workshops run by Takamul, studying at 14 colleges across the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia is implementing several measures to boost the tourism sector. Saudi Vision 2030 places great emphasis on diversifying the Kingdoms economy by opening up different avenues. The Kingdom is investing billions of dollars in sports and entertainment as it seeks to reform and diversify its economy, part of a wide-ranging Vision 2030 program introduced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The country is hoping to increase the number of foreign visitors, as well as encourage domestic tourism and create jobs for young Saudis. Formula E motor racing, WWE wrestling and world title boxing events have also been added to the countrys sporting calendar in the past 12 months. Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, said this year that infrastructure investments in the next decade would reach SR240 billion ($64 billion), contribute SR18 billion to the Saudi economy and generate 224,000 new jobs by 2030. Tourists will be offered special event visas to visit Saudi Arabia as part of plans by the Kingdom to become a major global entertainment destination. The new one-off visas will allow foreign visitors to choose from the growing number of sporting, entertainment and business attractions available in the country. Announcing the new visa category, the Saudi Cabinet said embassies and consulates would be able to issue the visas within 24 hours of receiving a request. Under the visa upgrade, the Kingdoms General Investment Authority, General Sports Authority and General Entertainment Authority will provide the Foreign Affairs Ministry and state security with details of events at least two months beforehand. The details will then be included in the visa system.

  • Saudi Arabia not considering non-dollar oil trade: official

    The Saudi Arabian Energy Ministry has rejected the suggestion that it is considering selling oil in currencies other than the traditional US dollar. In its first public reaction since speculation began last week that the Kingdom might consider pricing oil in other currencies if the Americans enacted legislation aimed at OPEC, the ministry said: Recent reports claiming that Saudi Arabia is threatening to sell its oil in currencies other than the dollar are inaccurate and do not reflect Saudi Arabias position on the matter. The Kingdom has been trading its oil in dollars for decades and that has served well its financing and monetary needs. Furthermore, the Kingdom remains committed to be a stabilizing force to energy markets and does not want its key priority to be out at risk, including changes to the financial terms of oil trading relationships around the world. The reaction from the ministry - headed by energy minister Khalid Al-Falih who is also the chairman of the worlds biggest oil company Saudi Aramco - will put and end to speculation that the Kingdom intends to react radically to the possible passage of what has been called NOPEC laws in the US. Such a law is opposed by US energy leaders and by the Energy Secretary Rick Perry as potentially destabilizing for world energy markets. A final decision on the law - if it gets passed by the US Congress - would be the responsibility of the administration of Donald Trump, who has not so far indicated his thinking on the matter.

  • Lebanon approves plan to reform ailing electricity sector

    The Lebanese government on Monday approved a plan to reform its electricity sector, vowing to provide power 24 hours a day from a grid notorious for blackouts. The decision is the most significant by the cabinet since it was formed in late January and is a step toward unlocking billions in aid pledged to Lebanon in exchange for slashing public spending and overhauling the electricity sector. Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday said the cabinet unanimously approved the plan which would improve power supply, raise electricity tariffs and reduce fiscal deficit resulting from government transfers to state-run Electricite du Liban (EDL). This plan satisfies the Lebanese people because it will bring them electricity 24/7, he told reporters after the session. It will also reduce the budget deficit, he said. Hariri said implementation of the plan was urgent and could not be delayed because it was critical to Lebanons economy. Energy Minister Nada Boustani, who first presented the plan last month, described the cabinets approval as a positive step. The plan still needs to be approved by parliament. A dated electricity grid, rampant corruption and lack of reform has left power supply lagging way behind rising demand since Lebanons 1975-1990 civil war. According to the McKinsey Company consulting firm, the quality of Lebanons electricity supply in 2017-2018 was the fourth worst in the world after Haiti, Nigeria and Yemen. Government subsidies to state-run EDL have also worsened the cash-strapped governments budget. EDL receives one of the largest slices of the governments budget after debt servicing and salaries. According to the World Bank, government transfers to EDL averaged 3.8 percent of gross domestic product from 2008 to 2017, amounting to about half of Lebanons fiscal deficit. Lebanon is one of the worlds most indebted countries, with public debt estimated at 141 percent of GDP in 2018, according to credit ratings agency Moodys.

  • Bahrain to develop ‘world’s largest’ underwater theme park

    Bahrain has announced plans to develop the worlds largest underwater theme park, covering an area of over 100,000 square metres, the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported. The eco-friendly project was announced by Shaikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa the personal representative of King Hamad and president of the Supreme Council for Environment. The dive site will have a 70-metre long decommissioned Boeing 747 as its centerpiece, the largest aircraft ever to be submerged, the report stated. It will also include several other structures, including a replica of a traditional Bahraini pearl merchants house, artificial coral reefs and other sculptures fabricated from eco-friendly material, all submerged to provide a safe haven for coral reef growth and a habitat for marine life. The site will also provide researchers with information and data on marine ecology and biology and will be a major boost to the kingdoms eco-tourism sector, said Shaikh Abdullah. He also stressed that the kingdom will protect its marine habitat by incorporating the highest international environmental standards in the project. The underwater dive site will be developed by the Supreme Council for Environment in partnership with the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority. It will be launched in the coming weeks in partnership with the private sector, local dive companies and clubs and will open to diving enthusiasts and visitors before the summer of 2019, the BNA report said. The project is hoped to become an international tourist attraction, given its location and the experience it offers for diving enthusiasts, the report added.

  • Kuwait announces initiative for $200m technology investment fund

    Kuwait is launching an initiative to create a $200m fund for investments in technology, its foreign minister said at an Arab economic summit in Beirut on Sunday. Sheikh Sabah al Khalid al Sabah said Kuwait would give $50m to the fund to allow investment in the fields of technology and digital economy which the private sector will take part in.

  • Saudi sees up to $21bn investment in 2019 housing sector

    Saudi Arabias housing minister said on Wednesday he expects investments in the real estate financing sector to reach between SAR60bn and SAR80bn ($21.33bn) in 2019. Real estate financing for January hit SAR4.7bn, and coming months were expected to see even bigger figures, Majed al-Hogail told Reuters on the sidelines of a housing conference in Riyadh. The ministry wants 60 per cent of Saudis to own homes by 2020. It is working with local banks to facilitate financing and help developers increase the supply of affordable units. The private sector is now financing 100 per cent of housing market needs, up from 35 per cent previously, the minister said on stage at the conference. He said banks provide 93 per cent of real estate financing, with real estate financing firms covering the rest. He also said he hopes to raise home ownership to 15,000 new households per month by 2020, from a little over 10,000 per month now. The average supply of housing units in the Saudi real estate market is between 350 to 375 thousand units across the Kingdom, he told Reuters. Ninety thousand families access the market yearly, he said, and the government hopes to raise the percentage of home ownership by 7 per cent annually. The Saudi government wants to increase activity in the real estate market as it moves to revitalise the economy, and is taking steps to reform the sector as part of its Vision 2030 strategic plan.

  • Qatar International Boat Show

    H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry, visiting the pavilion of German super yacht company Nobiskrug during the opening ceremony of the 6th Edition of Qatar International Boat Show at The Pearl-Qatar Marina, yesterday. Pic: Qassim Rahmatullah / The Peninsula

  • Siemens awarded its biggest contract in Oman for power and water project

    Global industrial company Siemens has won its biggest-ever contract in Oman valued at around 200m euros ($229m), it announced on Tuesday. The contract is for the supply of gas and steam turbines, long-term power generation services and digital solutions for the Duqm Integrated Power and Water project (DIPWP) in Oman. The service contract, which runs for 25 years, is also one of the Siemens longest contracts in the oil and gas sector globally, a statement said. The project and its associated desalination facility is located in the Duqm Special Economic Zone in Al Wusta and is being developed by Duqm Power Company a joint venture between Oman Oil Company and Gulf Energy of Thailand. It is set to meet the requirements of the new adjacent DRPIC Refinery and Petrochemical complex. Under the contract, Siemens will supply a combined cycle power plant consisting of five SGT-800 industrial gas turbines, five SST-300 industrial steam turbines, and the corresponding control system. Siemens will also provide cybersecurity solutions to improve asset visibility, reliability and security, while decreasing operation and maintenance costs. Following completion of the project in 2022, DIPWP will have an installed generating capacity of 326MW in combined-cycle duty and 36,000 cubic meters of desalinated water for Duqm refinery and petrochemical facilities per day. Abdullah Al Hashimi, project director of DIPWP said: Oman aims to build a robust and diversified energy system that can support its long-term, sustainable economic development. Siemens has been operating in Oman since 1972 and its projects in the country cover electrification, automation, and digitalisation. The company now supports the generation of more than half of Omans power supply, said Jean-Claude Nasr, senior EVP, Power Generation at Siemens in the MENA. Siemens will focus on the expansion of localisation and Omanisation in the long term, strengthening the countrys economy and creating more jobs for the Omanis, said Nasr.

  • Dubai Healthcare City cuts fees to attract investment

    Dubai Healthcare City has reduced several fees for its healthcare, commercial, research and education offerings to attract more investment, the freezones governing body DHCA has said. Operating permit fees for issuance and renewal for close to 150 clinical practices mainly hospitals and clinics, have been reduced, a statement said. The fees for inpatient and outpatient facilities have been cut by up to 30 per cent and 24 per cent respectively. Whereas diagnostic centres and medical laboratories will receive a reduction of up to 32 per cent in permit fees. Community pharmacy and non-diagnostic medical laboratories will also see a cut in fees. The DHCA has also waived the operating permit fees for over 240 non-clinical entities across the retail and hospitality sectors, as well as consultancies and professional training centres, the statement said. Meanwhile facilities in Healthcare City conducting research and/or education as their core services can avail up to 67 per cent fee reduction when applying and/or renewing their permits. Those applying for or renewing research permits in addition to their core services, will also see the fee cut by up to 45 per cent. The fees for submission and ethics review for sponsored interventional studies have also been reduced by 24 per cent. Ramadan AlBlooshi, chief regulatory officer, DHCA, said, As part of the directives of the UAEs leadership, fee waivers and reductions have been made to attract investors to the free zone. Dubai has announced several initiatives to reduce the cost of doing business in the emirate and encourage further investment. Earlier this month, a second package of initiatives under the emirates economic incentive package was launched by Dubais Department of Finance. They cover services to support SMEs and boost public-private partnerships in the emirate.

  • Smart IoT Taiwan 2019 Expo & Summit

    The Taiwan International Smart IoT Applications Show (Smart IoT Taiwan)will be held at Kaohsiung Exhibition Center in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, from August 21 - 23. The event will showcase global leaders of IoT technologies and contribute to the development of the global smart cities market. Held jointly with the PLASCOM TAIWAN Show, more than 8,000 industrial buyers and visitors are expected to participate. Given the forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program and Southern Taiwans industrial framework, the Smart IoT Taiwan Show features 6 themes: Smart Transportation / Rail Metro Taiwan, Smart Healthcare, Smart Retail Logistics, Smart Disaster Prevention Environmental Governance, Funtech Taiwan, and Smart Sustainable Cities. Building on the success and gains of our previous summit, several global companies and local governments in Taiwan have registered to exhibit, including Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation, Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation, Industrial Technology Research Institute, Thales, Siemens, Megastek, PSS Group, TASHI Smartech (a Unitech Group), Ghitron Technology, Taitung County Government, Tainan City Government, Chiayi City Government, and more. In addition to the show, the Smart IoT Taiwan Summit will be held concurrently, in order to provide a stage for in-depth discussions on environmental governance, mobility, healthcare, and digital marketing. Another highlight of the Smart IoT Taiwan is the 1-on-1 matchmaking meetings. In 2018, with the participation of representatives from over 20 countries, more than 100 sessions were successfully held during the show, creating business opportunities totaling $15.9 million. This years edition is poised to be bigger and better, with an expected increase in participation by 50%. The Smart IoT Taiwan 2019 is organized by the Bureau of Foreign Trade, MOEA and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), and co-organized by European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan- Low Carbon Initiative. The exhibitor registration is now open, all industrial members are welcome to download the application form fromwww.smartasiataiwan.com, or contact Ms. Chiu, Section VI, Exhibition Department, TAITRA (Tel: +886-2-2725-5200 ext. 2782 or E-mail:[email protected]).

  • Al Haddad Motors and Agility (Bahrain) truck handover luncheon

    Al Haddad Motors held an official handover luncheon on the 5thof August with Agility (Bahrain) to celebrate several years of partnership and handover 26 Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks. A number of representatives from Agility, Al Haddad Motors and Mercedes-Benz Trucks attended the luncheon that was held at ART Rotana. The all-new Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks were recently launched by Al Haddad Motors in their showroom in Tubli and are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies that help in ensuring a safer, more comfortable and more efficient journey. The luncheon was attended by a number of Agility representatives including the Senior Vice President of Agility Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, Mr. Vivek Veettil, Agility Bahrain CEO, Mr. Baiju Thomas, as well as the Head of Sales Key Account Management Mercedes-Benz Trucks,Mr.Ross Davies, Key Account Manager Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Mr. Ionut Dumitrescu, Al Haddad Motors General Manager, Mr. Warren Hudson, and Al Haddad Motors Commercial Vehicles Manager, Mr. Ashraf Shareef. For more information kindly contact the Al Haddad Motors showroom 17785454 or visit the Mercedes-Benz website on:www.bahrain.mercedesbenzme.com.

  • SSH chases Leed Gold status for Oman project

    SSH, a leading master planning, infrastructure, building design and construction supervision firm in the region, is working towards its goal of winning a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Leed) Gold accreditation for the Package Three of its key Omani project - Oman Convention Exhibition Centre (OCEC). Leed certification is official recognition that a project complies with the requirements prescribed within the Leed rating systems as created and maintained by the US Green Building Council. Since the 2016 completion of construction of Package Two - comprising the 45,000-sq-m exhibition centre, 4,200-space car park and associated landscaping - Omran employed SSH to move straight onto Package Three, the Convention Centre portion of the project. The Convention Centre design includes a 3,200-seat lyric-style theatre with two galleries, a second 450-seat auditorium, 19 meeting rooms with full AV installations, a grand ballroom with 1,200-seat banquet capacity, a junior ballroom with 540-seat banquet capacity, a food court, and associated back-of-house facilities. Like Package Two, which was officially accredited with Leed Gold Certification from the Green Building Council in the US in 2017, Omran and SSH are also seeking Leed Gold accreditation for the Convention Centre phase of the scheme. SSH was originally signed up in 2010 as the engineering sub-consultant for the OCEC Package 2 Exhibition Centre design stage, preparing final design and construction documentation for tender. Subsequently, in 2012, SSH was made the architect and engineer of record by Omran and in that capacity the company completed the detailed design and construction documentation for the Convention Centre phase, together with the site infrastructure and hard and soft landscaping designs for the project. This fully integrated precinct developed by Omran within the development zone of Madinat Al Irfan a world-class, urban mixed-use development is located just 4 km from Muscat International Airport. The Exhibition Centre has hosted well over 100 events and seen more than 750,000 visitors walk through its doors, marking OCEC as a truly iconic development with a global profile. The award of Leed Gold Certification also cements the building designs sustainability credentials, said the top master planner. This rating system evaluates the environmental performance of a building and encourages market transformation toward sustainable design, said the statement from SSH. The system is credit-based, allowing projects to earn points for environmentally friendly actions taken during construction and use of a building. There are six categories in which a project can earn credits: Sustainable Sites Water Efficiency Energy and Atmosphere Materials and Resources Indoor Environmental Quality Innovation in Design With a perfect score for water efficiency, the OCEC Exhibition Centre Package Two achieved an overall credit score of 65, exceeding the threshold for Leed Gold Status. Omran said it aims to mirror the Leed Gold success already achieved for the Package Two facilities with a similar Gold award for the Convention Centre phase of OCEC, and SSH are responsible for ensuring that this target is achieved. "Design integrity has always been a priority for SSH and we have a proud track record of involvement in design-led landmark projects," remarked Danny Warde, the resident director of Oman at SSH. "We have always promoted the seamless integration of all design elements, including structural materials, mechanical and electrical systems, interior finishes and landscape features. It was, therefore, crucial to us that all these elements are interwoven into the architectural fabric of this particular project to provide our clients with beautifully balanced architecture and a sustainable, cost-effective building," he stated. "To repeat the Leed success we saw with the OCEC Exhibition Centre for the OCEC Convention Centre would be a proud moment for our client, Omran, and for SSH in Oman," he noted. OCEC is the first significant venture for Oman into the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions markets, said the statement.

  • Qatar's highway project on track for 2020 completion

    Qatar's Public Works Authority (Ashghal) said construction was progressing as per schedule on its ambitious Khalifa Avenue Project with nearly 70 per cent of the work already completed. Khalifa Avenue project runs from the Al Wajbah Palace Interchange (west) to the Tilted Interchange (east) and along Al Gharrafa Road from Al Rayyan Street (south) to Thani bin Jassim Street (north). The scope of work includes the construction of 11.6 km of dual carriageway with four lanes in each direction replacing a three-lane way besides seven major free-flowing interchanges, service roads, and auxiliary lanes along sections of the road. The whole project is due for completion by the first quarter of 2020, said a statement from Ashghal. A new flyover was opened recently on Bani Hajer Interchange as part of the Khalifa Avenue project to ensure free flow of incoming traffic from capital Doha towards Al Rayyan Road. The 1.15-km-long overpass comprises two lanes that can accommodate 1,500 vehicles per hour, said the statement. The flyover will largely ensure less transit time and create better traffic since road users on Khalifa Avenue can have a direct access to Al Rayyan Road, sparing the diversions existed in the area around, it added. Speaking at the opening, Abdullah Qassim, the project engineer at Ashghal's Highway Department, said the new flyover comes after consecutive openings of Bani Hajer Interchange and is part of several openings that happened on Khalifa Avenue project.

  • Saudi Arabia non-oil growth to hit 2.3pc this year

    Saudi Arabias real GDP growth is expected to increase to 1.9 per cent in 2018, with non-oil growth strengthening to 2.3 per cent as reforms take hold and oil output increases, said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a new report. The report summarises the views of the Executive Board as expressed during IMFs July 16, 2018 consideration of the staff report that concluded the Article IV consultation with Saudi Arabia. Growth is expected to pick up further over the medium-term as the reforms take hold and oil output increases. Risks are balanced in the near-term. The employment of Saudi nationals has increased, especially for women, but the unemployment rate among Saudi nationals rose to 12.8 per cent in 2017. CPI inflation has increased in recent months with the introduction of the value-added tax (VAT) and higher gasoline and electricityprices,and is forecast at 3 per cent in2018,before it stabilizes at around 2 per cent over the medium-term. The fiscal deficit is projected to continue to narrow, from 9.3 per cent of GDP in 2017 to 4.6 per cent of GDP in 2018 and then further to 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2019. With oil prices implied by futures markets declining over the medium-term, the deficit is then projected to widen. The deficit is expected to continue to be financed by a combination of asset drawdowns and domestic and international borrowing. The current account balance is expected to be in a surplus of 9.3 per cent of GDP in 2018 as oil export revenues increase and remittance outflows remain subdued. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authoritys (SAMA) net foreign assets are expected to increase this year and over the medium-term. Credit and deposit growth remain weak, but both are expected to strengthen due to higher government spending and non-oil growth. Bank profitability should increase as interest margins widen, and banks remain well capitalized and liquid.

  • Qatar plan to build LED factory ‘on track’

    Qatars plan to establish a light emitting diode (LED) manufacturing facility in collaboration with a South Korean consortium remains on track, said a report, citing a top official at the South Korean embassy in Doha. A South Korean consortium comprising some 11 small and medium companies specialising in LED technology are still in discussion with their local counterparts, including Qatar Development Bank (QDB), Jungsik Choi, first secretary, was quoted in aGulf Timesreport. The project, which was expected to be operational by the end of 2017, has faced a series of delays since details of the plan were announced in 2014, stated the report. Qatar Development Bank, which provides around 70 per cent of the investments, had asked the South Korean consortium to renew the manufacturing facilitys feasibility study. With a smaller GCC market now, there was a need to determine ways to secure a larger market volume, said Choi. The project is still on track. In fact, the Qatari government had already identified a location site for the LED manufacturing plant, he added.

  • Arabian Cement posts $13.5m Q2 net loss

    Arabian Cement, a leading industrial group in the kingdom, has registered a net loss of SR50.9 million ($13.5 million) for the second quarter of 2018 mainly due to poor performance of its Jordanian unit (Qatrana Cement). Also with the tough competition in the western region market getting stronger, the Saudi cement firm saw its average realized price plunging to SR130/ton (-17.6 per cent y-o-y,+5.7 per cent q-o-q), as the company trying to retain selling prices from further decreases. But that came on the account of its market share as the net profit decreased significantly to 5.5 per cent in Q2 2018 (Vs 8.4 per cent in Q2 2017). According to experts, Arabian Cements miss was mainly due to its Jordanian operations (Qatrana Cement), which recorded a higher than estimated net loss of SR52.2 million in Q2 2018. The company held an inventory of 1.34mn tons by the end of June, representing 42.2 per cent of the last 12 months sales.

  • Aramex partners with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Dawaa

    Aramex, a leading global provider of logistics solutions, said that its Saudi division is entering into a strategic partnership with Al-Dawaa Medical Services Co. (DMSCO), the exclusive owner of Al-Dawaa Pharmacies. The agreement will look to expand the logistics providers presence in the Saudi market, provide a new and unique service to the e-commerce sector, and extend additional services to Al-Dawaa Pharmacies clientele. The first phase of the partnership will enable Aramex to launch service centres within 20 branches of Al-Dawaa Pharmacies distributed across the Kingdom. The second phase will see Aramex expand to hundreds of branches within the Al-Dawaa Pharmacies pharmaceutical network. The collaboration is part of Aramexs commitment to enhancing its accessibility and allowing customers to receive their shipments and parcels with ease. In addition, the agreement will allow customers to return e-commerce shipments by delivering them to service centres located across the pharmacys network. The arrangement will also serve Al-Dawaa Pharmacies strategy, which focuses on offering new and innovative solutions to its customers and partners. Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Alnowaiser, general manager at Aramex Saudi Arabia, said: We are delighted to be partnering with Al-Dawaa Pharmacies (DMSCO). Our collaboration reflects a commitment to expanding Aramexs presence across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and enhancing the services we provide to customers and suppliers in the e-commerce market. The strategic nature of todays collaboration mirrors Saudi Arabias tremendous economic transformation, whilst meeting our customers demand for a convenient and accessible service. We look forward to expanding our collaboration with a large section of Al-Dawaa Pharmacies network across the Kingdom in the near future. Hussam Baraqouni, chief executive officer, Aramex, GCC, Levant, Turkey, Central Asia and Indian Sub-Continent, added: The Saudi market is a vital arena for Aramex. Over the past few years, we have successfully ingrained ourselves within the community and forged meaningful partnerships by providing reliable services. Todays agreement is uniquely positioned to strengthen these efforts and to develop the domestic e-commerce sector in line with the Saudi governments plans to strengthen its contribution to the national economy. Increasing Aramexs accessibility across the Saudi market is a top priority for us as we look forward to developing and delivering innovative solutions that can enhance our customer service experience. Mohammad bin Saad Al Faraj, executive manager at DMSCO, said: We are proud that Al-Dawaa Pharmacies is in a position to constantly provide its customer and partner base with innovative solutions. Partnering with one of the worlds leading brands is crucial as we look to develop our customer service and experience.

  • IKEA Bahrain in final stage of fit-out

    The much-awaited IKEA Bahrain store is currently in the final stages of fit-out, a company spokesman has revealed. The Salmabad facility is almost complete and that the retail fit out works are in its final stages, said IKEA Bahrain properties and expansion manager, Eng Saleh Khalaf. IKEA Bahrain is well on its way to being open to the public. The facility will consist of a showroom, market hall and self-serve section, he said. The storewill be the biggest in the region with a retail area of 37,000sq mspread over two floors. The facility will also include a bistro and Swedish food market each taking up about 500 sq m of the total area. It will also house the biggest restaurant in the kingdom with a capacity of up to 650 seats and 1,200 parking spaces, he stated. The stores 220-sq-m play facility, called Smaland, will ensure that customers have an enjoyable shopping experience as children are taken care of by IKEA staff, free of charge, he added. The support of various government bodies has been monumental for the progress we have made with the facility, said Khalaf. He said the team received support from the Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning, Roads Planning and Design Directorate, Electricity and Water Authority, and General Directorate of Civil Defense throughout the project. Our team sincerely thanks these government bodies for their full cooperation and continued support during the development of the new IKEA store in Bahrain, he stated. Following the stores groundbreaking in October 2016 construction for the project was carried out by the Bahrain-based company Kooheji Contractors. IKEA is the worlds largest retailer for furniture and is known around the world for its ready-to-assemble furniture and other home accessories.

  • Kuwait JTC acquires 102 new Cummins generators

    Kuwait-based Jassim Transport Stevedoring Company (JTC) said its power rental division has successfully completed the procurement of 102 new units of Cummins diesel generators, thereby taking its total fleet strength to over 700 units with capacities ranging from 100 KVA to 1250 KVA. A major player in the power rental, equipment leasing, transportation and logistics industry in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, JTC provides professional and cost-effective power solutions, equipment rental and logistics services for both public and private sectors through its four operating divisions: Ports Management, Contract Logistics, Equipment Leasing and Power Rental. This landmark purchase is primarily aimed at meeting the market demand in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and is part of JTCs ongoing initiatives for maintaining a strong foothold within the Power Generation rental market, said the company in a statement. The new generators, which boast the noise attenuation feature, are perfect for installations where keeping noise to a minimum is required. Additionally, these are manufactured with the latest and highest safety standards allowing them to be utilised in critical oil and gas applications, it stated. With its far-reaching logistics network, JTC can rapidly mobilise these generators to any location in the region, it added. Commenting on the aquisition, CEO Adel Kohari said: "For around 10 years JTC has been one of the premier suppliers of power rental solutions for Kuwait and the region providing custom and turnkey solutions for commercial, industrial and government clients, with one of the best safety records in the industry." "We are pleased to receive the new generators which, in addition to JTCs existing fleet, will improve our capabilities to provide reliable and continuous power to meet the continuous demand of our clients," stated Kohari. "These generators have been designed specifically for the harsh operating environment of the Middle East rental market and finished to the highest standards. This groundbreaking deal that weve completed reflects the rapid development of the market that we operate in," he noted.

  • Infiniti QX70 Limited arrives in Middle East

    Infiniti today announced that the all-new Infiniti QX70 Limited has arrived in its Middle East showrooms. The specially equipped version of the iconic QX70 performance crossover features unique design elements that are expected to be available at a later stage in other Infiniti models. According to Infiniti, the Middle East is the only market globally where the new QX70 model is available due to its popularity with regional customers. "The QX70 is one of our most popular models here in the Middle East and we are very pleased to welcome this new addition to our line-up, said Markus Leithe, Managing Director Middle East, Infiniti Motor Company Ltd. QX70 Limited will feature all-wheel drive configurations and will offer a range of premium exterior and interior treatments, adding an extra touch of exclusivity to the dramatically styled crossover," he said. The QX70 Limited model's exterior enhancements begin with a unique front fascia, LED daytime running lights replacing the standard QX70 fog lights. The design enhancements include body-colour side air vents and the dark-finish outside mirror housings. Capping off the exterior are a rear hatch-mounted "Limited" badge and unique 21x9.5-inch multi-spoke premium paint-finished aluminum-alloy wheels mounted with 265/45R21 V-rated all-season tyres. Inside, the QX70 Limited features a special high-contrast graphite and stone-coloured interior treatment. Among the transformative interior elements are a special open pore wood trim with aluminium flake trim on the console, deep pillow quilting on the center console and aluminium-trimmed pedals. The seats themselves include high-contrast leather appointments with graphite outside sections and stone inserts. The seats include deep pillow quilting and Stone color stitching and piping. The steering wheel and shifter boot also feature Stone color stitching. Climate-controlled (heating and cooling) front seats are standard with the QX70 Limited.

  • Qatar starts works on $250m tunnel project

    Qatar's public works authority Ashghal has begun work on the QR920 million ($251 million) Mesaimeer Pump Station and Outfall Tunnel project, aimed at providing a sustainable solution to discharge surface and storm water. It is the second phase of the Mesaimeer Surface and Ground Water Drainage Tunnel Project, which will provide a sustainable solution for the discharge of surface and storm water, said a statement from Ashghal. The project is being implemented by a joint venture between Hamad Bin Khalid Contracting Company and PORR Qatar Construction Company, while the project management services is being handled by Mott Macdonald. A leading engineering, management and development consultancy, Mott Macdonald is overseeing the design, implementation and operation of the project. The scope of work includes construction of pumping station at the end of Mesaimeer Tunnel south of Hamad International Airport besides 10 pumps and auxiliary facilities. The project also includes the construction of a 10-km-long tunnel with a 3.7 m diameter. Dr Saad bin Ahmad Al Muhannadi, the president of Ashghal, said on completion, it will pump water from Mesaimeer Tunnel to the new outfall tunnel operating at a capacity of 19.7 cu m per second. The project is designed to ensure the preservation of the marine environment, as the water, which will be pumped complies with the environmental assessment standards, and it is discharged 10 km off-shore to reduce the effect on the marine environment, stated Dr Al Muhannadi.

  • Al Yousef unveils luxury residential project in Oman

    Premier Real Estate, a key subsidiary of Oman-based Al Yousef Group, has launched the first phase of its residential apartment project, Wardat Riyam, located at Mutrah Bay in capital Muscat. The project, which will come up over a 6,700-sq-m area adjacent to Riyam Park, is being developed in two phases, said Al Yousef Group in its statement. The Phase One comprises two buildings housing 36 premium apartments, a banquet hall and retail outlets. All the units will boast panoramic view of the sea, Mutrah bay and Riyam park, it added. The construction contract for the first phase has been awarded to Unique Contracting Company, said the statement from the company. A number of retail outlets and restaurants will also come up with this project to serve the residents of the area and visitors of this unique place in Mutrah.

  • Qatar Petroleum to build new petchem complex

    Qatar Petroleum has invited a group of leading international companies to submit proposals to develop and operate a new world scale petrochemicals complex at Ras Laffan Industrial City. The Petrochemicals Complex will include an ethane cracker with a capacity of more than 1.6 million tons per annum (MTPA) of Ethylene, making it the largest ethane cracker in the Middle East, and one of the largest in the world. The Petrochemicals Complex will also include world-class derivative plants, which will consolidate Qatars position among the leading petrochemicals producers in the world markets. The engineering design of the Petrochemicals Complex should commence shortly, leading to a planned start-up in 2025. Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, president and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, said: This development is a first step towards the launch of a new world scale Petrochemicals Complex at Ras Laffan, marking another important milestone for Qatar Petroleum. Al-Kaabi added: Petrochemicals represent a major pillar of our growth strategy to achieve our vision of becoming one of the best national oil companies in the world. This project will complement our efforts to implement our strategy, and will enable Qatar Petroleum to further expand its footprint in the global petrochemicals markets.

  • Saudi Cement, GE in gas turbine upgradation deal

    Saudi Cement, a regional pioneer in the manufacture and supply of clinker and cement, has signed an agreement with GE Power for the upgradation of three 6B gas turbines at its plant in Hafuf region of the kingdom. The deal represents the first time that GE Powers Advanced Gas Path (AGP) solution will be implemented to strengthen power generation productivity for a cement industry globally, said a statement from the company. The project, built on the two organisations long-term collaboration, will help Saudi Cement increase power output and efficiency, while reducing the need to draw power from the national grid, in support of the kingdoms drive towards greater economic diversification under Saudi Vision 2030. Saudi Cement CEO Mohammed Al Garni said: "Power supply is both a key input, as well as one of the major costs in our manufacturing process. Reliable, efficient electricity supply is thus essential for the continuous operations of our facility, as well as our market competitiveness." "GE Powers AGP upgrade solution will allow us to improve efficiencies and become more self-sufficient in power production," he stated. Joseph Anis, the president and chief executive of GEs Power Services business in Africa, India and the Middle East, said: "Saudi Cement has played a vital role in the development of construction projects across the Middle East for more than half a century. We are delighted to support their continuous journey of operational improvements and to contribute towards the strengthening of the kingdoms industrial base." "The upgrades of the gas turbines at Hofuf plant will not only help achieve efficiency and output improvements but also extend maintenance intervals and lower emissions, to the benefit of Saudi Cement and the wider community," he added. Saudi Cement said the upgrades are expected to complete by the third quarter of 2018. They will help to enhance efficiency by up to 3.3 per cent per turbine, contributing towards the Saudi National Transformation Program 2020s goal of improving fuel utilization in electricity generation to 40 per cent by 2020, the company stated. GE has more than 80 years of partnership in the kingdom with over 4,000 employees, including Baker Hughes, a GE company.

  • Al Haddad Motors launches the newest addition to the Mercedes-benz commercial vehicle range, the all-new Actros and Arocs

    BAHRAIN [TUBLI]: The latest addition to the Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles is now in Bahrain. The all-new Actros and Arocs were unveiled at a launch event held at the Al Haddad Motors showroom on the 25thof April 2018. The event was attended by several VIP customers, a number of premier company owners, members of the media, representatives from DCV MENA as well as the Al Haddad Motors management and Board of Directors. During the launch event, Al Haddad Motors also held a cake cutting ceremony to commemorate 60 years of partnership between DCV MENA and Al Haddad Motors. The first launch for the all-new Actros and Arocs in the region was held in Dubai. A number of representatives from different general distributors, customers and media members attended the event in Dubai to witness the launch. This is the first time in 20 years that Mercedes-Benz is launching a new addition to the commercial vehicles product range. The all-new Actros and Arocs offer a further enhanced level of reliability, efficiency and robustness to the Mercedes-Benz Truck offering. Assembled at the worlds largest truck plant in Woerth, Germany, the trucks come in specifically developed variants for the Middle East and Africa designed and built to withstand the harshest operating conditions. Tested extensively around the world, on both surfaced roads and in the most challenging terrain, these vehicles are a perfect platform for heavy-duty applications. Testing included a total of more than 6 million kilometres of endurance runs performed by the Mercedes-Benz Trucks Testing Centre based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The all-new Actros is made for long-distance haulage as well as heavy-duty distribution haulage. It is available with up to 22 different cab variants and comes in steel or air-suspended versions. The impressive new Arocs is there for when exceptional robustness is required be it on construction sites or away from surfaced roads. The extremely resilient Arocs can work under the toughest off-road conditions, far from any highway. As a highlight, the new Actros and Arocs set a new benchmark when it comes to safety and assistance systems, supporting the driver and saving lives. The most impressive safety feature is the optional available Active Brake Assist 4: this radar-based emergency braking system initiates maximum full-stop braking ahead of moving and stationary obstacles if necessary and can therefore save lives. It also warns the driver of any potential collision with pedestrians, triggering partial braking at the same time. The new Mercedes-Benz Actros and Arocs models are available at Al Haddad Motors. For more information please call 17785454 or visitwww.bahrain.mercedesbenzme.com.

  • Doosan Portable Power secures Saudi compressor order

    Doosan Portable Power (DPP) has won an order worth 2 million ($2.43 million) for portable compressors in Saudi Arabia. The deal was finalised at the Intermat 2018 Exhibition which was held in Paris, France. The compressors have been purchased by the rental business, EJAR, based in Jeddah, through Tamgo, the authorized dealer for Doosan compressors, lighting towers and construction tools in Saudi Arabia, said a statement. The order is for 50 Doosan 9/235HA portable compressors each providing 23.4 cu m/min (825 cfm) of compressed air at a rated operating pressure of 8.6 bar (125 psi), it said. The 9/235HA is ideal for the full range of compressed air applications from construction, rental, utilities and manufacturing to quarrying, water well drilling, sand blasting and the oil and gas industry, it added. Gaby Rhayem, regional director Middle East and Africa (MEA) for Doosan Bobcat EMEA, said: The 9/235HA is a long-time staple of our industry and is the most popular compressor of its type in the Middle East and Africa. EJAR chose the 9/235HA for renewal of the companys rental fleet, based on the outstanding performance and durability of our products over many years, he added. With a well proven Doosan airend and powered by a fuel efficient Cummins engine, the 9/235HA compressor has been designed to ensure the unit performance, durability and reliability are guaranteed in the tough environment of the Middle East, said a statement. EJAR was formed in 2015 to provide customers with short and medium term rental solutions. With an array of products including compressors, trucks, lift trucks, cranes and welding machines, EJAR offers affordable, turnkey solutions for everyday rental needs, it said.

  • Woqod raises foreign ownership to 49pc

    Qatar Fuel (Woqod) has increased the percentage of non-Qatari ownership to 49 per cent and also raised the maximum limit of individual ownership to 1 per cent of Woqod share capital. Chief executive officer of Qatar Fuel, Saad Rashid Al-Muhannadi indicated that this recommendations came in order to give effect to the instructions of Qatar Petroleum to its listed affiliate companies, and also to address the request of Qatar Stock Exchange to undertake the said amendments with the purpose of enhancing the investment attractiveness of Qatari companies, after classification of the State of Qatar was raised by MSCI and a number of international indexing agencies to the level of emerging markets, thus becoming the largest emerging market in the region. Al-Muhannadi pointed out that this necessitates the introduction of certain amendments on the Articles of Association of Qatar Fuel (Woqod), thus prompting the Board to issue an invitation for an Extra Ordinary General Assembly meeting on May 6. He highlighted that the current approved percentage of non-Qatari ownership of companys shares amounts to 25 per cent, which percentage had been approved by virtue of a binding decision issued by the Minister of Finance in the year 2004.

  • KBR wins Feed contract for big Saudi COTC complex

    State oil giant Saudi Aramco and Sabic, a global leader in diversified chemicals based in capital Riyadh, have jointly awarded a major contract to KBR, a leading global provider of project management, and professional and engineering services in the petrochemicals industry, for its fully-integrated crude oil-to-chemicals (COTC) complex in the kingdom. The JV partners said the awarding of the COTC project management and front-end engineering and design (Feed) contract is a second significant step toward the implementation of the giant facility . This comes following the signing of an MoU by Saudi Aramco and Sabic in November last year to assist in bringing the giga-project to its next stage of development, said a statement from Saudi Aramco. The contract primarily covers the finalisation of the project scope, selection of technology providers, update on project economics, and performance of front-end engineering and design, it added. Commenting on the new milestone, Saudi Aramco president and CEO Amin H. Nasser said: "We are effectively moving forward with the implementation of our strategies and plans towards further integration and value creation." "The award of this second project management contract to KBR not only strengthens the project with additional world-class experience, but is yet another milestone in the kingdoms continuous drive to redirect and optimize its abundant natural resources and maximize its chemicals yield," noted Nasser. "With the addition of KBR to the project, Saudi Aramco and Sabic are confident that the right parties are now in place to see the project through its initial phases and the inclusion of a high proportion of local content," Nasser added. Sabic vice-chairman and CEO Yousef Al Benyan said: "This contract award to KBR is a major advance by the two leading industrial companies in Saudi Arabia Sabic and Saudi Aramco towards establishing a large petrochemical facility in support of Saudi Arabias vision of creating job opportunities, initiating new industrial technologies, and diversifying the product portfolio." By 2030, the COTC complex is expected to be a significant contributor to Saudi Arabias GDP and play a key role in helping the continued economic transformation away from crude exports to higher-value industrial products, further stimulating the Kingdoms diversification of the downstream sector, as enunciated in Vision 2030.

  • UAE nuclear energy unit 1 construction completed

    The UAE's Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant in Al Dhafra Region, Abu Dhabi, today celebrated the successful completion of Unit 1 construction. His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea visited the plant and declared the completion of the construction, said a Wam news agency report. During the ceremony, both leaders highlighted the importance of this historic milestone that sets the UAE as the first Arab country to deliver a commercial nuclear plant to the highest standards of safety, quality and security, as well as the first nuclear newcomer since 1985. With this strategic milestone achieved, Unit 1 clears the construction phase, and the project now shifts its focus to completing operational readiness preparations required to obtain the approval of the Operating Licence by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR). This latest accomplishment is the result of the close collaborative relationship between the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and its prime contractor and joint venture partner, the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco). While adhering to the highest standards of safety and quality, Enec and Kepco have completed Unit 1 construction in 69 months, in strict adherence to FANR regulations. The accomplishment is even more notable, given the complete absence of any previous nuclear industry of infrastructure within the UAE, and it provides a positive reference point for other nations considering the adoption of peaceful nuclear energy. Commenting on this milestone, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said: "This is a historic moment in our nations development as we celebrate the construction completion of Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant. The UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Programme will play a strategic role in the growth of our nation by enhancing our energy security, diversifying our economy, and creating employment opportunities for our people, thereby helping secure the future of generations to come." He went on to express his pride in the role played by Emirati professionals in the project's development, working in close collaboration with government and regulatory partners, to ensure the delivery of Unit 1 to the highest standards of safety, quality and security. "Today is a historic day for the energy sector of the UAE, as we continue to make progress on one of our nations most significant projects," he added. The event highlighted the strong relationship between the UAE and South Korea, which commenced back in 2009 when Kepco was appointed by Enec to lead the prime contract for the construction of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant. "Nuclear energy will play a strategic role in the future of the Nation," said Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of Enec's Board of Directors. "With construction completion achieved, the UAE joins an elite group of countries that have managed to build such a complex and demanding facility to the highest standards of safety and quality. This milestone is a testament to the vision and commitment of the UAEs leadership and the strength of Enecs partnership with our prime contractor and joint venture partner, Kepco. Now, our focus is on the transition to the safe start-up of Unit 1 nuclear operations." Barakah Unit 1 has already successfully completed a number of individual and combined system tests, including the 'cold hydrostatic test' and 'hot functional test', as part of the first phase of the Initial Testing Programme (ITP). The ITP aims to ensure that the units systems operate in accordance with the highest industry standards and will continue to do so during the operation of the plant over the coming decades. In parallel to the ITP being conducted at the Barakah Plant, Enec, Kepco, and Nawah are conducting a comprehensive review programme in preparation for operations to ensure that the people who will operate and maintain the plant also meet the highest standards of competence and readiness. As per the UAE Nuclear Law, the construction and operation of nuclear energy plants are subject to regulation by FANR, the UAEs independent nuclear regulator. Once Nawah staff have confirmed that the plant, its people and related programmes, processes and procedures are all ready, they will seek the approval of FANR to begin the loading of nuclear fuel assemblies and the start-up of Unit 1. Prior to granting such approval via the issuance of the Operating License for Units 1 and 2, FANR is carrying out detailed inspections and reviews of all aspects of the plant and the operating organisation. In addition to FANRs extensive review process, and in line with the commitment made by the UAE in 2008 to adhere to the highest standards of safety and operational transparency, Unit 1 and its operating team are undergoing a number of assessments by independent international nuclear energy experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). These all-inclusive assessments will review both the physical infrastructure of the reactor as well as the competency and expertise of the reactors operating team and administrative staff. In parallel to the above activities, Enec also continues to manage the construction of Barakah Units 2, 3 and 4, which are benefitting from the experience and lessons learned during the construction of Unit 1 and which are likely to achieve even more impressive construction schedules. The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant is the largest nuclear energy new build project in the world, with four APR-1400 units under simultaneous construction. Construction of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant began in 2012 and has progressed steadily ever since. Construction of Units 2, 3 and 4 are 92 percent, 81 percent, and 66 percent complete respectively. The construction of the Barakah plant as a whole is now 86 percent complete. Once the four reactors are online, the facility will deliver clean, efficient and reliable electricity to the UAE grid for decades to come, providing around 25 percent of the countrys electricity requirements and saving up to 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

  • Qatar's Retaj group expands to Asia

    Retaj Hotels and Hospitality has expanded its portfolio to Asia with the signing of a strategic partnership with Thai group Taj Hana. Dr Mohamed Bin Johar Al Mohamed, vice chairman and managing director of Retaj Group and Luqman Nani, managing director of Taj Hana Group, signed the strategic partnership at Al Meroz Hotel in Bangkok. The agreement was signed in the presence of Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, former deputy Prime minister and former President of Parliament, as well as many officials from the two leading groups and more than 200 academics and investors in hotel tourism sector, in addition to landowners and medical tourism experts. This came as a part of Retaj's overseas expansion plan and global strategy as one of the leading hotels and hospitality companies in the Middle East and GCC region. Under the agreement, Taj Hana will provide more than 27 hotels for Retaj Hotels Hospitality to operate over the next five years in key locations in the Far East region, the most important of which are Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and China. Retaj is aiming to provide Halal and authentic Arabian hospitality to the Arabian and Gulf tourists and investors as well as from various nationalities visiting the Far East countries. The two groups also signed a partnership agreement whereby Retaj Hotels and Hospitality will offer Taj Hana Spa brand in all Retaj new hotels, allowing Retaj Guests to enjoy the international Spa experience and renowned Thai treatments of the Taj Hana. Sheikh Jassim bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Qatar's Ambassador to Thailand, expressed his thanks to the management of the Qatari company Retaj for its kind invitation to the mission to attend the signing ceremony. He wished the two sides success in their cooperation and bilateral relations between Qatar and Thailand. Dr. Mohamed Bin Johar Al Mohamed, vice chairman and managing director of Retaj Group, also expressed his thanks for the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its support to the projects of the group abroad, and thanked the Ambassador Al-Thani and all the staff of the Qatari Embassy in Thailand for their participation in the signing ceremony and the hospitality they have extended to the delegation of the Retaj Group in Thailand. Dr Johar added: "Retaj has established itself as a key brand, being the first and only Qatari hotel brand operating inside and outside the state and which has succeeded in spreading to many countries in Asia, Africa and Europe." "The Far East countries of Asia are among the most important tourist destinations in the world and the most popular among Southeast Asian countries as there is great potential for tourism in these countries," he said. Luqman Nani, director general of Taj Group, said that the tourism industry is a top priority of the Thai government. He pointed out that medical tourism is the most important sector in Thailand as it has gained a global reputation to become a major pillar of the tourism sector in Thailand. Luqman explained that the partnership includes a provision of 2,000 hotel rooms to be managed by Retaj Hotels and Hospitality in Thailand in addition to 3,000 hotel rooms in East Asia including China, Japan and South Korea, allowing the hotel brand to provide Halal tourism in those regions.

  • GlassPoint Solar showcases technologies at Oman show

    GlassPoint Solar, a leading supplier of solar energy to the oil and gas industry, is showcasing its latest technological offerings at the 11th edition of Omans Oil and Gas Exhibition (OGWA), being held in Muscat, Oman. The event which opened today (March 26) will run until March 28, at the Oman Convention Exhibition Centre. GlassPoint is demonstrating its innovative solar steam technology now being deployed on oilfields around the world to reduce operating costs and save natural gas consumed in the production of heavy oil, said a statement. GlassPoint is launching its latest 360-degree virtual reality video tour of Miraah, its landmark project with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) that began operating last year, it said. The virtual reality experience allows visitors to immerse themselves within one of the worlds largest solar energy projects, experiencing GlassPoints technology first-hand, it added. GlassPoint also released a new technical paper on the integration of Miraah with conventional steam facilities. The first 100 MWt of the gigawatt-scale project were commissioned safely, on time and in line with budget, and is meeting all targets for steam output required by the Amal oilfield. Marwan Chaar, vice president of project development, GlassPoint Solar, said: Our proven technology delivers the lowest-cost solar steam for thermal enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations, freeing valuable natural gas typically used in the process. Were continuing to come down the cost curve as we execute on additional Miraah blocks and plan for future projects. In the first four blocks alone, weve already achieved over 55 per cent cost savings compared to the pilot we built back in 2012, he added. Chaar will be taking part in OGWAs panel session Effective Resource Management and Capability Development, where he will discuss how large-scale deployment of solar on Omans oilfields can develop local talent and create a local manufacturing base. Miraah is putting Oman on the global solar energy map, creating jobs and developing expertise in solar technology innovation, project deployment and manufacturing. This local expertise will be exported around the world as GlassPoint scales its operations and deploys its technology in new markets, including its project in California, US, with oil and gas producer Aera Energy. OGWA is held alongside the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) EOR Conference, where GlassPoints project development senior analyst, Siddiqa Al Lawati will present a new technical paper. The SPE paper titled Integration of Solar Steam Facilities with Existing Steam Generation Systems, details the first few months of Miraahs performance and integration with the Amal oilfield, including its novel automated control system developed in the sultanate. Al Lawati said: The study showed that large-scale solar steam generation facilities, like Miraah, can be integrated and operated in parallel with conventional steam systems with no adverse impact on existing surface facilities.

  • Atkins wins Saudi water supply services contract

    Atkins, a global design, engineering and project management consultancy and a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, said it has won procurement advisory services from state-owned National Water Company (NWC) as part of a consortium to provide water distribution services in Saudi Arabia. The consortium is led by financial consultant Mizuho Bank and supported by legal consultant White Case, said a statement from Atkins, a leading construction group which was last year acquired by Canadian contractor SNC-Lavalin. The project is part of a wider privatisation strategy that focuses on customer service, efficiency improvement and cost control, and is designed to bring greater efficiency and guaranteed water supply throughout the kingdom. The municipal water segment aims to meet the demand for water and wastewater services of the Kingdoms 32 million residents. Francois-Xavier Basselot, the market director for SNC-Lavalins Atkins water business in the Middle East and Africa, said: "With significant infrastructure development and forecast growth in cities, towns and communities, the distribution of water and guarantee of supply is critical." "Through these flagship projects, the NWC, with support from the consortium, will have better water network coverage, better wastewater service coverage and will enable a better understanding about the importance of water conservation," noted Basselot. "Ultimately this is about ensuring the sustainability of the water sector in the Kingdom," stated the top official.

  • Kuwait plans mega Northern Gulf Gateway project

    Kuwait has announced plans to build a mega-project that will attract up to $200 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) and contribute $220 billion to the countrys GDP. The ambitious Northern Gulf Gateway, an integrated flagship project for realising the Kuwait National Vision 2035, will open investment opportunities for US, European, Chinese and Asian investors, said officials revealing details of the project at the Kuwait Investment Forum 2018 (KIF 2018). The development will create 300,000 to 400,000 knowledge-based jobs and attract three to five million visitors annually, opening new investment opportunities for the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors. We have chosen the Northern Gulf Gateway development not only as an economic catalyst but also to take advantage of our geographic location, which lies closest to two of the worlds oldest civilizations, said Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Kuwait. Connected with Chinas Belt Road Initiative, the development will have a world-class airport, industries, a knowledge zone, a leisure zone and an educational zone, he said. With Northern Gulf Gateway, Kuwait will be a catalyst in bringing together other countries in the region and across the world, he added. The board of trustees of the Harbour City in the Northern Gulf Gateway will discuss with Chinese companies on new projects on May 1, it was revealed. Omar Kutayba Alghanim, CEO, Alghanim Industries Chairman, Gulf Bank Kuwait, said: Our growth story has only begun. We are an open, transparent market place; we are the oldest democracy in the region and we have a healthy balance sheet and great geographic location. There is no better time than now to be part of the Kuwait story. Since the inception of our SME Fund, more than $7 billion were set aside for them and such support doesnt happen in any other country, he added. Noura Al-Qabandi, director of international affairs and research department, CITRA, Kuwait, said: We see the next big opportunity in the Northern region as an investment haven with God-given resources, land and a central location. It is a place where civilizations met, traded and connected, and it is our future. The project is directly aligned with Kuwaits advancement in connecting the world. She gave details of the different zones that will be part of the Northern Gulf Gateway. It will include an educational hub; a centre for smart industry and future technologies; a port of 8 million TEU capacity; a financial hub with a stock exchange, and a touristic destination that will also feature a world-class medical facility.

  • InterCon signs second Crowne Plaza in Doha

    InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has partnered with Tanmiyat Real Estate to rebrand the M Doha Hotel as the Crowne Plaza Doha West Bay. The hotel is expected to be rebranded by August, aligning with IHGs strategy to grow the Crowne Plaza brand across the region. Dr Braik Bin Samikh, chairman of Tanmiyat Real Estate, signed the agreement for Crowne Plaza Doha West Bay with Pascal Gauvin, managing director, India, Middle East Africa, IHG. The signing ceremony was held at the M Doha Hotel in the presence of dignitaries from Embassies, EU Qatar Friendship Group, Qatar Tourism Authority, in addition to representatives from IHG and Tanmiyat Holding. The 317-room Crowne Plaza Doha West Bay will be the seventh operating IHG hotel and second Crowne Plaza hotel in the city. Strategically located in Dohas most prestigious accommodation precinct, West Bay, guests will have easy access to Qatars financial, shopping and diplomatic districts, as well as views of the citys impressive skyline. Additionally, the hotel is within 20km of Hamad International Airport for the guests added convenience. Business and leisure guests staying at Crowne Plaza Doha West Bay will experience the best of both worlds with eight meeting rooms and an executive lounge, alongside an outdoor pool, and a gym to rest and rejuvenate after a hectic workday. Guests will be spoilt for choice with five dedicated food and beverage outlets catering to all tastes. To further enhance their culinary experience, Crowne Plaza Doha West Bay will also be home to the Indian celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoors restaurant Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor, which will serve contemporary Indian cuisine to guests staying at the hotel, as well as the residents of Doha. Gauvin said: We are excited to be partnering with an esteemed developer and investor like Tamniyat Real Estate in launching our second Crowne Plaza hotel in the city. The newest neighbourhood development in Doha, West Bay is the centrepiece of Dohas majestic skyline, and given the great location and world-class amenities, we are confident that Crowne Plaza Doha West Bay will be a popular choice with both business and leisure travellers. This latest addition to our portfolio of hotels in Qatar will help us to further strengthen our offering to domestic and international guests visiting the country.

  • Five different Mercedes-Benz cars at unbeatable prices

    BAHRAIN [TUBLI]: Drive away with the car of your dreams with the latest offering from Al Haddad Motors. Whether you are interested in performance, safety or luxury, Al Haddad Motors has the car that fits your needs. An array of choice that includes an AMG GT, AMG A 45, CLS, SLC and GLC, all at unbeatable prices. For the performance lovers, look no further than the AMG GT and AMG A 45. Handcrafted by racers, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT and AMG A 45 are the epitome of motorsport performance. The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS that is unique to the AMG GT provides for better performance with optimised handling. As for the AMG A 45, it is the fastest 4 cylinder hatchback in the world. The AMG GT is priced at BD 54,995 and the AMG A 45 is available for BD 19,995. As for those interested more in lavish designs, the CLS and SLC are a great choice. Equipped with AMG body stylings, both cars enjoy a luxurious and sporty aesthetics that is sure to stand out from the crowd. The CLS a four door coupe with a spacious rear seats is priced at BD 24,995 and the SLC two door, hard-top convertible is priced at BD 16,995. Last but not least in this unbeatable offer from Al Haddad Motors is the GLC. With safety features like ababy seat ISOFIX, Collision Prevention Assist Plus and Blind Spot Assist as well as comfort features such as spacious legroom and ample luggage space the GLC is the ideal family car that gives you all you have ever wanted in an SUV. With only a few limited quantities included in the offer, this is an offer not to be missed.For more information call +97317785454 or visitwww.bahrain.mercedesbenzme.com.

  • Gulf Air to fly direct to new cities in Egypt, Saudi Arabia

    Bahrain national carrier Gulf Air is adding new routes for the summer with direct flights to be launched to two new cities each in Egypt and Saudi Arabia in June. The carrier will fly direct to the Egyptian cities of Alexandria (thrice-weekly service from June 10) and Sharm El Shaikh (a twice-weekly service from June 16) and will also expand to the Saudi Arabian cities of Abha and Tabuk with five weekly flights from June 15. The network expansion coincides with the airlines new aircraft deliveries, of which five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and two Airbus A320neos will enter Gulf Airs fleet by end-2018. Gulf Air chief executive officer, Kreimir Kučko, said: We are delighted to launch two very attractive destinations in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia countries with which we have held longstanding and historic ties and which continue to be an incredibly important market for Gulf Air. As we begin to welcome our new incoming fleet, our network will continue to expand giving our passengers greater travel options across the globe, onboard state-of-the-art aircraft and with superior products and services. In Q2 2018 Gulf Air will further expand its network with direct flights to Bangalore and Calicut in India, alongside Baku in Azerbaijan and Casablanca in Morocco.

  • Barceló Hotel Group expands to the UAE

    Spanish-based Barcel Hotel Group has announced plans to expand into the UAE with the opening of two new properties and seven more in the pipeline. A family run business with over 85 years of history, Barcel Hotel Group operates more than 230 hotels under four brands in 22 countries worldwide. The brands include Royal Hideaway Luxury Hotels Resorts, Barcel Hotels Resorts, Occidental Hotels Resorts and Allegro Hotels. The group recently unveiled The Barcelo Residences Dubai Marina hotel, located on the south side of the Palm Jumeirah island in Dubai, and The Occidental Sharjah Grand Hotel, which was previously Sharjah Grand Hotel. The alcohol-free property recently completed renovation and was rebranded under the group's Occidental brand. Jaime Bux, chief development officer of Barcel Hotel Group, said: "We are seeing that the Barcel Hotel Group is being widely welcomed along with its hotel brands thanks to the groups values, which many Emirate businesses share, such as being a family-owned business with more than 80 years of history in the tourism industry, its solidity, and its flexible and personalised approach to the goals it sets." "We are currently negotiating and looking forward to signing contracts for seven hotels in the Emirates between now and the end of 2018," he said. The Barcelo Residences Dubai Marina caters to families, couples and friends, offering 220 modern, stylish apartments. The luxury hotel has facilities including an outdoor swimming, a hot tub, and a modern fitness centre. Located next to the Dubai Marina Mall, guests will have access to a number of popular locations in the emirate.

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