How did Karwa Motors come to be, and what have been some of its recent developments?
Karwa Motors is my third greenfield project, and it was an idea that started in 2012-2013. It is a state-of-the-art facility manufacturing different type of buses in Oman. The project is a great ICV for Oman, where the technology has been transferred from Higer, the well-known bus manufacturer to Karwa Motors. The project involves designing a manufacturing line for mid-sized coaches, coaches, and city buses. To succeed in such projects, you need a vision for how to penetrate the market and develop it. On the construction side, the project started in mid-November 2019 but slowed down when the lockdowns started. New costs were generated for Karwa Motors, and faced significant challenges to complete the project and get construction going again. One of the major challenges was related to the concluding of contracts with third parties, as well as how Karwa could deliver and secure construction materials. With the support of all parties involved, especially the board of directors and the Mowasalat Qatar team, the project was pushed forward, and the third-party contracts were concluded. There were delays, but it caught up.
You plan to manufacture school buses in 2021. At what stage are you with the production of the other types of buses?
Karwa set the goal of manufacturing mid coaches based on a discussion with all the relevant parties, and have already started. Our buses will be used at the World Cup 2022, so the timeline is tight, and we expect to start deliveries before the end of 2021. The Karwa operation team started ramping up the production of mid coaches recently. Once we complete the targets of 2021, the team will restart the production of the larger coaches. Karwa have enough plans to penetrate the market and receive the orders. In the third stage, once the larger coaches are completed, we will start producing city buses. ✖