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Agility to manage Carbon Holdings’ facilities in Egypt

Agility, a leading global logistics provider, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to manage logistics at Carbon Holdings’ industrial facilities in Egypt, including construction of the new Tahrir Petrochemicals Complex (TPC).

Agility will work with Carbon Holdings, a midstream and downstream petrochemical and process industrial plant company, to transport plastic byproducts within Egypt and to customers abroad, said a statement from the company.

Agility will also handle the distribution of chemical compounds, including low-density ammonium nitrate inside Egypt and the onward distribution to container ports for Carbon Holdings’ Egypt Hydrocarbon Corporation (EHC) business, it said.

The 5 million sq-m TPC is expected to be the largest single-train naphtha cracker in the world and will be strategically located in the Suez Canal Economic Zone in Ain Sokhna, Egypt.

During construction, Agility will collaborate with Carbon Holdings to optimise heavy lift operations for the project, including in-bound movement of containers, storage and equipment for construction.

Elias Monem, chief executive officer of Agility Middle East and Africa, said: “Agility has extensive experience serving the petrochemicals industry with a suite of solutions across the supply chain, and a strong track record of providing specialised logistics expertise.”

“Having handled over 1,000 mega-projects globally, our specialists are well-versed in the demands of high-value, turnkey projects and have extensive capabilities in global project logistics, fuel logistics and remote-site services,” he added.

Basil El Baz, chairman and chief executive officer of Carbon Holdings, said: “Once our state-of-the art facility is operational, TPC will significantly increase Egypt’s total oil and non-oil exports.”

“Agility’s specialised logistics services will help us achieve our ambitious growth plans. Through TPC, we expect to be able to efficiently and effectively transport our materials around the world, given the site’s strategic location in the Suez Canal Economic Zone,” he added.

Carbon Holdings develops, owns and operates a number of petrochemical manufacturing projects in Egypt. Once operational, TPC is expected to produce approximately 4 million tonnes a year of product and will be the first of its kind in the Middle East and Africa.

TPC will consist of a derivatives unit, three polyethylene units, three polypropylene units, and associated facilities including a co-generation plant and water desalination plant, it stated. – TradeArabia News Service


Dubai taxi bookings rise 17% to over 12.3m in 2018

Public Transport Agency says that the average time taken to dispatch taxis to clients last year was 11.35 minutes

Taxi bookings carried out by the Public Transport Agency of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) exceeded 12.3 million bookings in 2018.

Figures revealed a 17 percent rise compared to the 10,573,855 bookings reported in 2017.

The Public Transport Agency also revealed that the average time taken to dispatch taxis to clients last year was 11.35 minutes, with 62 percent made within 10 minutes.

"The Booking & Dispatch Centre aims to improve the number of bookings handled and meet customer needs as quickly as possible,” said Mohammed Nabhan, director of Passenger Transport Activities Monitoring, Public Transport Agency, RTA.

The average time taken to respond to incoming calls at the centre was just 5 seconds in 2018, down from 11.2 seconds in the previous year.

Customer satisfaction ratings rose to 82.6 percent last year, compared with 80.4 percent in 2017, after receiving a total of 6,814,800 calls.

There was also a 77 percent drop in the number of complaints received to 17 compared to 74 complaints in 2017.


More details announced on locations of bus pick-up points across UAE

Organisers of the Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi have now released additional details about the locations of bus pick-up points across the UAE and the times that individuals will need to be there on 5th February.

The highly detailed transport plan, including free buses from the UAE Government, is designed to ensure that the 135,000 attendees are able to access the Mass and comes as Catholic Church parishes across the country start to distribute tickets.

There will be multiple pick-up points at locations in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and single pick-up points located in Al Ain, Jebel Ali, Mussafah and Ruwais and at the Yas Gateway park and ride facility on Yas Island. Residents of Sharjah will use only one hub in Dubai, which is in the Muhaisnah district.

The opening and closing timings of the access hubs are planned taking into account the that mass schedule and to ensure the smooth arrival of the Catholic community at the venue. The locations and timings that individuals need to observe with regard to the access hubs are marked on their Transport Ticket issued to them along with their Entry Ticket to the Mass.

Organisers are encouraging individuals to bring their own food and beverages while they are gathering at the pick-up points and during the bus journey.

It will not be permitted to take food and beverages into the venue that will be reached by a short walk of between 0.5km and 1km from the bus drop-off points. Water will be provided within the venues.

Commenting on the transport plans and logistics for the Mass, Fr. Michael O’Sullivan, the UAE Papal Visit Coordinator on behalf of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, said: "We have been working closely to ensure the most efficient way to help the tens of thousands of our parishioners who wish to participate in the Mass reach Abu Dhabi by buses.

"Naturally the logistics behind something of this scale are hugely complex and the timings reflect the sheer numbers of people who are expected to travel and to ensure that everyone is able to reach the Zayed Sports Stadium area in plenty of time for the Mass.

"As the Mass will be taking place in the morning the timings are in place to ensure that there is a balanced flow of individuals coming to their designated pick-up point to benefit from the free transport the UAE Government has so generously provided."

He added that Papal Mass attendees should retain their transport ticket for the return journey and as the event is a ticketed only one, he urged individuals to ensure they check and stay in touch with their local parish coordinators for updates and additional information now that the distribution of tickets has commenced.


New ferry service launched to link Dubai shopping malls

and Transport Authority starts operation of an exclusive Dubai Ferry route linking The Dubai Mall and Dubai Marina Mall

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has commenced the operation of an exclusive Dubai Ferry route linking The Dubai Mall and Dubai Marina Mall.

Inaugurated in the presence of senior officials of RTA and Emaar, the new Dubai Ferry service links two of the most popular lifestyle destinations in the city.

The new service builds on an earlier agreement signed between RTA and Emaar's At the Top, Burj Khalifa to promote the sale of Dubai Ferry tickets to the popular tourist attraction in the iconic tower.

The ferry service, which takes about 1 hour 20 minutes one-way, will offer residents and tourists a new perspective to the city's skyline.

Tickets can be purchased from At the Top, Burj Khalifa, from the guest service desks at The Dubai Mall and Dubai Marina Mall or www.burjkhalifa.ae as well as from the ferry stations. They are priced AED68.25 per adult and AED52.5 for children from 5-12 years.

Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of Public Transport Agency, said: "The marine transport network of Dubai is gaining considerable interest among visitors and residents, especially following the ongoing promotion of the Dubai Ferry service by At the Top, Burj Khalifa. The new service will add to the delight of users, who can cover two of the most popular malls effortlessly while enjoying scenic vistas of the city."

Ahmed Al Falasi, executive director of group operations at Emaar Properties, said: "The new ferry service is a remarkable addition that will add to the touristic attractions in the city."

RTA has a fleet of nine ferry boats shuttling between eight stations including Ghubaiba, Marina Mall, Jaddaf, Water Canal, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Wajeha Al Maeyah, Marasi and the Dubai Design District as well as provide charter service.


Ajman starts pouring of green concrete on new building

Ajman government has announced that it has begun the pouring of the green concrete at its central laboratory building located in the northern UAE emirate.

The first-of-its-kind tower is being built in line with the emirate’s green building system standards at an investment of Dh15 million ($4.08 million).

The building will include sunlight-reflecting glass, which will insulate it and help save electricity, as well as thermal bricks that will be examined in the laboratory before they are used, remarked Abdulrahman Mohammed Al Nuaimi, Director-General of the Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman.

The department aims to establish an ideal and healthy building that is made from 90 per cent green concrete, which will help preserve the environment and the health and safety of individuals, he stated.

The use of the green concrete will enhance the building’s sustainability by an average of 20 years, along with the use of environmentally-friendly materials, such as recycled materials, said Al Nuaimi.

It will also help to decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent besides preserving air quality and reducing pollution, he stated.

The people tasked with designing and constructing the building are working on employing energy-saving lighting and VRF air conditioning systems, which will save electricity by 40 per cent compared to regular air conditioning systems, as well as a solar panel system and a water preservation system, he added.- TradeArabia News Service


Caesars Resort Bluewaters Dubai opens

Caesars Resort Bluewaters Dubai has officially opened its doors and is now accepting reservations. The new property joins two other Caesars hotels to complete the trio of beachfront properties on Dubai’s newest island oasis, Bluewaters.

Focusing its fun-fused approach to luxury on families looking for a truly immersive hospitality experience, expect epic dining delivered by Las-Vegas grown concepts such as Bacchanal and entertainment designed to bring multi-generational guests together.

Promising sheer indulgence, island seclusion and a fully packed roster of entertainment for all ages, Caesars Resort Bluewaters Dubai comprises 301 stylish guest rooms. Seven room categories are offered to suit families of all sizes ¬– from epic suites for larger groups to interconnecting rooms for the perfect balance of blissful space and close-knit togetherness.

To keep young and old visitors alike entertained, the resort boasts two temperature-controlled outdoor infinity pools – one family-friendly and one for adults only – and access to 450 meters of pristine private beach. Those wanting a break from their sun lounger can book in to the newly launched roster of sea-based activities. From wakeboarding, jet skiing and parasailing for adrenaline junkies to photo cruises and yacht trips for families, everyone can take to the Arabian Gulf and create unforgettable memories.

Bringing loved ones together at meal times, Caesars Resort Bluewaters Dubai boasts seven restaurants and bars to cater to every culinary whim. One dining highlight is Bacchanal – the sister restaurant to its original stateside outpost and named the best buffet restaurant in Las Vegas twice by USA Today. Here in the UAE, the restaurant will follow the same ‘more-is-more’ concept, with oversize open kitchens serving up a wealth of decadent dishes. From prime rib, chilled crab legs and oysters to handmade dim sum and baked-to-order soufflés, Bacchanal’s approach to lavish dining is set to become the stuff of Dubai legend.

Other dining options at Caesars Resort Bluewaters Dubai include The Piazza serving traditional afternoon tea with home-baked scones, clotted cream and strawberry preserve plus refined patisserie, pool bar and grill The Sandbar with the freshest seafood inspired by sun-soaked afternoons in the South of France, a fusion of Mediterranean and Arabic flavours at Cleo’s Table and the best poolside light bites, burgers and salads on the island at Fortuna and Venus. The resort’s piece de resistance when it comes to dining is rooftop restaurant Paru – boasting the most spectacular views on Bluewaters and an eclectic culinary menu of contemporary Japanese dishes fused with a Korean-American twist. The perfect spot to watch the sunset across the Arabian Gulf, guests can expect a bustling crowd sipping cocktails on the open-air roof terrace and tucking into exceptional fusion cuisine.

Following in the legendary 50-year footsteps of its famous Las Vegas resort when it comes to epic entertainment, Caesars Resort Bluewaters Dubai gives guests direct access to The Rotunda, a dedicated events destination showcasing an electrifying roster of high-flying headliners, trendsetting theatre acts, mind-blowing magicians and hilarious comedians. Another handy feature for parents and kids alike is the Empire Club – a kids club for Cherubs (ages 0-2), Gladiators (ages 3-7) and Centurions (ages 8-12) available to all junior guests – and joining soon Roam, a teen’s club for young adults. Accessible to all families staying at the resort, the colourful and activity-filled kids club and trendy teens hang out will help younger Caesars guests to shape their own vacation schedules.

While the children are busy with their own activities, parents or grandparents can maximise relaxation time with some serious pampering. At Qua Spa, an elevated spa experience lifts guests above the realm of modern-day stresses and transports them to a one-stop destination for wellbeing and beauty. Located at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai but accessible to all guests, Qua Spa is designed as a sanctuary fit for royalty, taking a holistic approach to enhance emotional and physical balance centred around five elements for perfect ‘Qi’ or energy. Boasting eight treatment rooms including two rooms for couples, signature facial and massage treatments, relaxation lounge and male and female facilities with rock saunas, aroma steam rooms, experience showers and ice fountains – Qua Spa offers an intimate spa experience like no other.

Another shared resort experience is Caesars Forum – comprising a state-of-the-art conference centre, three meeting rooms and the 750-sq-m Forum Ballroom.

Located on Bluewaters, a modern, family-oriented island destination by Meraas, Caesars Bluewaters Dubai will be surrounded by nearly 200 retail, dining and entertainment outlets. The world’s largest observation wheel, the Ain Dubai, serves as a spectacular central focal point and can be seen from both hotels and the residences.

Bluewaters is easily located from the mainland, a new pedestrian bridge over the crystal waters of the Arabian Gulf leads guests directly from The Beach to the island. - TradeArabia News Service


The Phantom of the Opera to debut in Dubai this October

The world’s most popular musical, The Phantom of the Opera, will make its Middle East debut at Dubai Opera for a limited season beginning October 16.

Presented by Broadway Entertainment Group in collaboration with Dubai Opera, tickets will go on sale at 8:00 am on January 31. Tickets can be purchased on dubaiopera.com, all Virgin Megastores UAE, and through the Dubai Calendar app.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbuster has won over 70 major theatre awards, including seven Tony Awards on Broadway and four Olivier Awards in the West End. The Phantom of the Opera became the longest running show in Broadway history on January 9, 2006, when it celebrated its 7,486th performance. On January 1, 2018, it celebrated its 13,000th performance and later that month on January 24, the Broadway production celebrated an amazing 30 years on Broadway.

Chief executive officer of Broadway Entertainment Group, Liz Koops, said: “We have been working long and hard to bring Phantom to the Middle East, and we’re overwhelmed with the excitement and positive response we have received since we announced the regional debut of the show. We guarantee an unforgettable and remarkable experience. Whether you are a musical theatre lover or not, this show promises to be truly spectacular.”

Jasper Hope, chief executive at Dubai Opera commented: “We believe in providing our Dubai audiences the best of the best. The Phantom of the Opera‘s debut in the Middle East has been much anticipated, and tickets will become available to all in a matter of days. We are looking forward to sharing this amazing production with people here in Dubai.”

With 130 cast, crew and orchestra members, jaw-dropping scenery, breathtaking special effects and more than 230 costumes by the late international designer late Maria Björnson, The Phantom of the Opera contains some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most famous and stirring music, including ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ ‘Think of Me,’ and ‘Music of the Night.’ The original cast recording, with over 40 million copies sold worldwide, is the best-selling cast recording of all time.

Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera tells the tale of a musical genius known only as the Phantom who inhabits the depths of the magnificent Paris Opera House. Mesmerised by the talent and beauty of a young soprano, Christine Daae, the Phantom falls fiercely in love with her. Unaware of Christine’s love for another, the Phantom’s obsession sets the scene for a dramatic turn of events where unrequited love, jealousy and passions collide.

The Phantom of the Opera, which opened at Her Majesty's Theatre in London’s West End on October 9, 1986, starred Michael Crawford as the Phantom and Sarah Brightman as Christine. It is produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group. The Phantom of the Opera is presented in Dubai by Broadway Entertainment Group in association with Dubai Opera.

THE The Phantom of the Opera is brought to you by Du Live. - TradeArabia News Service


Musanada completes key Abu Dhabi school project

Abu Dhabi General Services Company (Musanada) said it has completed a major school project collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) at an investment of Dh129 million ($35 million).

The project has been built over a sprawling 50,000-sq-m area at the Shakhbout City in the context of the Abu Dhabi Future Schools Programme, Phase VI, Package 1.

This Musanada project comes as part of its efforts towards delivery of projects that avail facilities aligned to the emirate’s advanced educational level, remarked Ali Al Haj Al Mehairbi, the executive director, Building Construction Management Division at Musanada.

Besides it will also create an environment that will motivate students to explore their full potential and capabilities while focusing on investing in future generations as they are the most important factor for continuing the development and advancement process across all fields, he stated.

Unveiling the details, Al Mehairbi said: "Mleih School for Girls, built in Shakhbout City, will accommodate up to 2,100 C2 and C3 female students and will consist of 70 classrooms, administrative offices, a cafeteria, a multi-purpose internal sports hall, as well as a swimming pool, external playgrounds, music rooms, laboratories."

"The project conforms with standard specifications, be it in the design of classrooms, multipurpose halls, or the provision of an appropriate and attractive educational environment to cater to the needs of future generations," he stated.

Eiman Al Marzouqi, the infrastructure and facilities director at Adek, said: "The school was constructed in line with the latest international designs, including highest health and safety standards."

"The facility was equipped with latest technologies to properly serve the educational process, ensuring an attractive and interesting educational environment for students, as part of Adek’s efforts to provide an ideal school setting for students to facilitate their creativity and innovation," stated Al Marzouki.

"The school not only features sound security, educational appropriateness and sustainability but is also considered attractive and conducive to the spirit of activeness in students and teachers alike, as well as serving the local community and parents, which Musanada has aimed for in the project design and construction," she added.- TradeArabia News Service


Truebell introduces new range of food products

UAE-based Truebell, a leading GCC importer of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), said it is introducing a wide range of new flavours for the region’s multi-national consumers this year.

The retail and food services division of the company has entered into exclusive distribution agreements with a number of leading brands including Yorkshire tea, Daioni and Lemon Square, to begin distributing their products during the first quarter of 2019, said a statement from the company.

Leading retailers across the UAE such as Spinney’s and Carrefour will be stocking up on products such as Yakult Light Probiotic Milk from Japan, Palmdream coconut water (Brazil), Yorkshire Tea (UK), Soignon cheese from France, Daioni organic milk (UK), Namet meats (Turkey) and Lemon Square cakes from the Philippines, it said.

Meanwhile, the company’s food service division will launch a variety of cheese from Olympus Dairy (Greece); Parisette bakery mixes from France and a range of new products from La Rose Noire – providing chefs with both sweet and savoury delicacies such as chocolate shells and globes as well as chocolate decorations for pastry chefs.

Truebell director Jitendra Gandhi said that its 25,000-sq-m purpose-built fulfilment centre, which opened in Dubai Industrial Park during September 2018, accommodates a wider range of dry, frozen and chilled goods in greater volumes.

Gandhi said: “Ordinarily the first quarter of the year is the busiest within the retail and food services division before the summer sets in and 2019 is no different. These partnerships further underscore our expansion plans in the retail and food sector following the opening of our new state-of-the-art distribution centre.”

“This facility was custom-built and incorporates design with technology, which enables us to provide exceptionally efficient service, delivering the freshest, top quality products to our customers,” he added.

Truebell’s retail and food services business continues to benefit from the Gulf’s favourable geography and the ongoing growth in hospitality and retail. The UAE alone has over 16,000 F&B outlets, which is expected to rise to 19,000 by 2020.

The company has grown exponentially since it was established in 1984. To date it has a portfolio of over 10,000 products, underscoring its position as a leading importer, wholesaler, distributor and exporter in the GCC.

“Plans are already afoot to expand our wide-range of existing products under our retail and food services division, with further announcements expected over the coming months,” added Gandhi. – TradeArabia News Service


Lulu introduces 'VAT free' stickers

Lulu Hypermarket has announced the introduction of 'VAT free' stickers to further enhance price transparency, particularly in regards to the expanded list of basic food items not subject to VAT.

The introduction of the 'VAT Free' stickers is in response to the National Bureau for Revenue's (NBR) request to highlight items not subject to the 5% VAT to ensure the correct implementation of the levy, said a Bahrain News Agency report.

Lulu Hypermarket is committed to increasing customer satisfaction by enhancing price transparency and providing consumers with clarity ahead of purchasing, the company said.


World's largest underwater park to open in Bahrain

Bahrain is set to become a global leader in the field of ecotourism as it plans to open the world’s largest underwater theme park, said a report.

Details of the new project were revealed in a statement issued by the Personal Representative of His Majesty King Hamad and president of the Supreme Council for Environment, Shaikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, said a report in BNA.

Covering an area of over 100,000-sq-m, the exceptional dive experience will include several structures such as a submerged 70-metre Boeing 747 as a centrepiece, as well as a replica of a traditional Bahraini pearl merchant’s house and artificial coral reefs.

The sculptures will be fabricated from eco-friendly materials, and submerged to provide a safe haven for coral reef growth and a habitat for marine life, the report said.

The dive site will also provide researchers with rich information and data on marine ecology and biology and will be a major boost to the kingdom’s ecotourism sector, it said.

Scheduled to launch in the coming months, the underwater dive site is an eco-friendly project undertaken by the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) in partnership with the Supreme Council for Environment and the private sector.

"The underwater park highlights the kingdom’s commitment to preserving its marine habitat by incorporating the highest international environmental standards in this eco-friendly project," Shaikh Abdullah highlighted.

"Moreover, the project will become an international tourist attraction, given its large area, location and unique experience for diving enthusiasts," he said.

The diving site is set to be open before the summer of 2019, the report said.


First cinema in Jeddah opens

JEDDAH: Jeddah’s first cinema opened its doors to the public on Monday, and an industry expert told Arab News he expected up to 35 million people in the Kingdom to go to the movies every year.

Cinemas were banned in the country for decades until the first one opened last April in Riyadh.

Cameron Mitchell, CEO of the regional cinema chain Majid Al Futtaim, said Saudi Arabia had the capacity for high audience numbers.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony for Vox Cinemas in Jeddah‘s Red Sea Mall.

“If you look at Dubai we have some 15 million customers there per annum. On the short-term goal in Saudi Arabia we are expecting the market to reach about 30 million customers,” he said.

Research from PwC Middle East in November estimated that total cinema revenue in Saudi Arabia would reach $1.5 billion by 2030. The forecast was based on a projected 2030 population of 39.5 million, and 6.6 screens per 100,000 people.

Last year, Vox Cinemas said it would be investing $533 million to open 600 theaters in the next five years.

“Some 95 percent of our employees here are from Saudi Arabia. In any country where we operate cinemas, we localize the team. We have an Egyptian team in Egypt and a Lebanese team in Lebanon and of course Saudis in Saudi Arabia,” Mitchell said.

“We expect the cinemas in the Red Sea Mall to be showing…a mix of films, probably about 300 films per year with at least six new movies every single week. It will take a while for us to have enough cinemas for everyone to get to go to the cinema whenever they want to.

“In my opinion, the cinema is a good place for families to spend time together in a social environment, especially in hot summer days, when outdoor activities are limited.”

There will be cinemas in Tabuk by the end of this year or by early 2020 and the Saudi government has been very helpful, he said, adding: “We got the license last April and we were keen to do the required steps and follow the regulations, and that went smoothly.”

There would be no issues with gender segregation as there were cinemas for families and separate ones for bachelors, according to Mitchell.

The lifting of the cinema ban is part of the Vision 2030 reform plan.


Jeddah retailer Manuel Market plans to open 100 new stores

Manuel Market, the Jeddah-based supermarket retailer, has said it is on track to open 100 new stores in the next three years.

Co-founder and CEO Khaled Ahmed Al Darwish was inspired to launch the retail brand after visiting the grand European palaces which inspired a vision to build a brand on luxurious shopping, unique products, design concepts, and packaging for sophisticated shoppers.

"Like me, our rapidly expanding international clientele enjoys sumptuous living and quality ingredients. Since opening our first store, we have consistently focused on what is good for the body, and for the soul," he told the Saudi Gazette.

He said he travels the world over to find the very best products in order to create unique experiences.

Last year the Consul General of Italy to Saudi Arabia, Elisabetta Martini, awarded Manuel Market CEO Khalid Aldarwish the Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy) in recognition of his outstanding contribution for enforcing relations between Italy and Saudi Arabia, and promoting Italian products in the kingdom.

The Order of the Star of Italy was founded in 1947 by the first President of the newly established Republic of Italy. It represents a high distinction for all those who have acquired special merits in their activities and in the promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between Italy and other countries.


Saudi Aramco set to build first hydrogen fuelling station

State oil giant Saudi Aramco said it has signed an agreement with US-based Air Products, a leading industrial gases company in the world, to jointly build the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle fuelling station in the kingdom.

The new refuelling station will be located within the grounds of Air Products' technology centre in the Dhahran Techno Valley Science Park.

The collaboration between the two companies will combine Air Products’ technological know-how and experience in the field of hydrogen with Saudi Aramco’s industrial experience, facilities and R&D (research and development) capabilities, said a statement from Saudi Aramco.

As per the deal, Saudi Aramco and Air Products will establish a pilot fleet of fuel cell vehicles for which high-purity compressed hydrogen will be dispensed at the new fuelling station, it stated.

Air Products’ proprietary SmartFuel hydrogen fuelling technology will be incorporated into the new station to supply the vehicles with compressed hydrogen.

The collected data during this pilot phase of the project will provide valuable information for the assessment of future applications of this emerging transport technology in the local environment.

The hydrogen refuelling station, the first in the kingdom, is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2019, it added.

“Hydrogen fuel cells offer an effective means for the electrification of transport while maintaining easy, five-minute refuelling and long driving ranges,” remarked Ahmad Al Khowaiter, the chief technology officer of Saudi Aramco.

“The use of hydrogen derived from oil or gas to power fuel cell electric vehicles represents an exciting opportunity to expand the use of oil in clean transport,” he added.

Dr Samir Serhan, the executive vice-president at Air Products, said: "We are honoured to work on another venture with Saudi Aramco to establish and develop a sustainable hydrocarbon-based hydrogen supply system for pilot demonstration of a fuel cell vehicle fleet in Saudi Arabia,

"It further illustrates our commitment to the kingdom’s 2030 vision," he added.

Toyota Motor Corporation will supply Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicles for testing in this pilot project.

The auto giant has been investing in hydrogen for over 20 years and in 2014 introduced the Mirai, its first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, said the statement.

The Mirai is a zero-emission vehicle which runs on compressed hydrogen gas and only emits water. The car is powered through a fuel cell which creates electricity by combining oxygen from air with hydrogen from the fuel tank, it stated.

Toyota has long maintained that hydrogen fuel cell technology can offer a sustainable zero emission solution across a broad spectrum of vehicle types, it added.- TradeArabia News Service


Kuwait airport drives digital transformation with Microsoft Azure

Kuwait International Airport has announced that it has adopted Microsoft Azure cloud solutions to streamline the airport’s operations.

The move enables the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to drive digital transformation in every facet - engage passengers, empower employees, optimise operations and transform airport services.

Located 10 miles south of the city, Kuwait International Airport is home to a traffic of 13.7 million passengers annually, up by 17 per cent since 2016. The growing operations called for DGCA to modernise the airport into a new state-of-the-art facility that can handle 25 million passengers a year and provide a remarkable customer experience. To address these needs, DGCA decided to partner with Microsoft and bring technology at the heart of this effort, keeping up with the continual changes in the aviation industry.

“The government of Kuwait wants to better address issues that many international airports face: high traffic, long lines, and inefficient gate assignments,” explained Mohammad Al-Mutairi, IT operations manager of the DGCA. “Kuwait’s Aviation sector has undergone an orbit shift and has played a vital role in the development of the economy. By implementing the latest Microsoft technology, the Kuwait International Airport will further enhance its servicing competences and drive transformation in the industry.”

To handle the ever-increasing volume of flights and passengers, DGCA adopted the Microsoft Azure Cloud to gather, manage, and analyse airport data, and transform it into actionable business intelligence and data visualisations. This enables the airport’s employees to avoid time-consuming manual data analysis tasks, and managers gain real-time information that they can use to streamline airport operations.

For example, leveraging Azure-based advanced data management capabilities, airport operations experts can now stream the information into Power BI dashboards, a business analytics tool that provides real-time information about the number of passengers, the number of airplanes they’re flying on, the wait time at the airport, how many workers are needed to transfer luggage to what types of aircraft, and the number of open ticket counters.

“Our employees are now empowered with the insights they need to make the best decisions possible, as quickly as possible," said Al-Mutairi. “Our mission is to give the right people everything they need to know ‘right now,’ to take the right action at Kuwait International Airport. The way Power BI brings together information in Azure Data Warehouse into one insightful, visually engaging experience - is better than anything manual methods could ever do.”

Microsoft and DGCA have enjoyed a partnership for over two years to drive digital transformation in the aviation sector of the country. In 2016, the latter migrated 3,000 field workers to Microsoft Office 365, as well as implemented Microsoft Teams to improve collaboration, productivity and communication with and among field workers. In the near future, DGCA also plans to automate much of the decision-making process by using Azure Machine Learning, which will help amplify human ingenuity and reduce the risk of any possible errors.

“Every improvement in the airport’s operation is an important milestone in the directorate’s modernisation. We’re optimising our airport’s operations, which elevates our position compared to other airports, and that attracts more business. Microsoft cloud technology is helping to lift us to a higher level in the aviation industry,” said Al-Mutairi.

“DGCA is one of the impressive examples of our customers that are truly leveraging technology to transform their operations and improve the services they provide”, said Charles Nahas, general manager, Microsoft Kuwait. “It is exciting to see how they are adopting the latest technologies and tools to drive change. In particular, the DGCA recognised the power of data as a strategic asset and leveraging the cloud to make more powerful and intelligent decisions. We are proud to support the digital transformation journey of DGCA and we stand forth to support the government of Kuwait in such crucial efforts," Nahas said. - TradeArabia News Service


World's longest bridge in Kuwait set for 2019 completion

The world's longest bridge linking Kuwait City to Subiyah New Town across Kuwait Bay is set to be completed in April

The world's longest bridge linking Kuwait City to Subiyah New Town across Kuwait Bay is set to be completed this year.

Media in South Korea reported that Hyundai Engineering & Construciton (Hyundai E&C) will complete the Sheikh Jaber Causeway in 2019, six years after winning the contract for the $2.6 billion project.

Reports said the total length of the bridge to be completed this year is 48.53km, about 7km longer than Haiwan Bridge in Qingdao, China.

Scheduled for completion in April, the project reclaimed 1.5 million sq m of land for two ports and a main administration building and visitor centre.

In November 2013, Hyundai E&C won the project along with a local company Combined Group, with the Korean builder’s share of the project standing at 78 percent of the total construction cost.

It is the largest civil engineering project landed by a Korean contractor since the waterway order from Libya in 1984.


UAE retail giant opens new $117m Oman mall

The launch of City Centre Suhar brings the total number of malls within Majid Al Futtaim's shopping malls portfolio to 24

UAE-based mall operator Majid Al Futtaim has opened its fourth shopping and leisure destination in Oman.

The launch of City Centre Suhar brings the total number of malls within Majid Al Futtaim’s shopping malls portfolio to 24.

With an investment of OR45 million ($117 million), the mall houses international and regional retail stores such as The Body Shop and Max Fashion, entertainment and leisure experiences, and varied dining options, the company said.

City Centre Suhar will service a population of 570,370 residents in the burgeoning port city and industrial hub, Suhar, and surrounding districts, Liwa and Shinas, it added.

The mall has added 35,301 sq m of gross leasable area to the sultanate’s booming retail sector and features 129 outlets, a 7,348 sq m Carrefour Hypermarket, a nine-screen VOX Cinemas, Magic Planet and over 1,000 available parking spaces.

The opening of City Centre Suhar is part of Majid Al Futtaim’s strategy to increase the company’s total investment in the sultanate to OR705 million by 2020.


Banana Island Resort Doha introduces new winter activities

With the onset of winter, Banana Island Resort Doha has launched a range of diverse and exquisite activities offering guests a much-needed escape from daily routines.

To make the in-house guests feel warm and rejuvenated, the resort has, in the offing, a variety of complimentary winter indoor experiences such as hammam steam pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room facilities, a soothing 10-minute neck and shoulder massage as well as body composition and facial analysis. The fitness savvy can embark on a workout regime with the range of machines and weight stations while family and friends can enjoy a game of billiard or table foosball at the Family Entertainment Center.

Alongside a great spa and fitness experience, guests will have an amazing opportunity to indulge in experiential activities such as towel art classes, pizza making classes, mocktail classes, coffee foaming classes and Arabic coffee classes.

To keep the children engaged, the resort has planned an array of unique activities. Guests can be assured to leave children in a safe environment with trained staff to lead the fun and games. Teens can enjoy a lively den with games and movies, daily from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm. Family and friends can also explore different movie options at the VIP Cinema, daily from 10.00 am to 11.30 pm.

Adding a treasured value to the guests’ experience, Azraq restaurant is offering the “Warm Winter Brunch” every Friday, providing food lovers an opportunity to experience a wide variety of gourmet from Middle Eastern, Asian and western selections, in addition to Indian curries and authentic Italian pasta, fresh sushi, a cheese counter and succulent carvery meats. Guests can also relish sweet treats from a decadent selection of homemade desserts, including bitter chocolate cake, chestnut pie, tiramisu and hot apple strudel that warms from within.

Banana Island Resort Doha also has two offers for daily visitors. With the “One day in Paradise” offer, visitors can experience the resort’s upscale special treatments specially designed to free up mental and physical stress. The “One day in Paradise” bouquet also includes a full body massage session for 60 minutes, an opportunity to enjoy the resort’s facilities, from sauna to the steam room and Jacuzzi, with free pool and beach access in addition to QR200 ($54.5) voucher per individual, which can be redeemed at any of the resort’s multiple glamorous restaurants, and the luxury transport to and from the resort.

The “Hello Beautiful Weather” bouquet includes multiple perks, ensuring fun time for all the resort’s visitors. The great value bouquet offers enjoyment at the sandy private golden beach and turquoise waters, free access to one-of-a-kind Lagoon pool, which is considered the largest in Doha, a unique dining experience in its world-class restaurants, and other amazing activities.

The “Hello Beautiful Weather” bouquet also includes QR200 credit per person to spend at any resort restaurants and QR50 ($13.6) credit per person to spend on any resort activities, in addition to the Luxury boat transfers, which departs to the island from Al Shyoukh Terminal at Doha Corniche on a daily basis from 8.00 am to 7.00 pm.

On this occasion, Emad Nabulsi, hotel manager, said: “We are always looking out for avenues and greater opportunities for the comfort of our guests, especially at this time of the year, to take advantage and benefit of the distinctive weather by offering an ideal setting where they can explore new destinations and enjoy the highest levels of comfort and hospitality. We are confident that this new offers and winter activities will live up to their expectations and that they will cherish the experience forever.” - TradeArbaia News Service

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