Jul. 11, 2021


Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti

Qatar

Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti

Minister , Transport and Communications (MOTC)

MOTC is working for Qatar to become a logistics hub in the region, and Hamad Port is playing a key role in achieving this success.

BIO

Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti has held countless important posts in both the public and private sector. He has a bachelor's in mechanical engineering, a master's in military science, and a diploma from the UK's Institute of Directors. He has served as Minister of Transport and Communications since 2016. He is a board member of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and a member of Qatar's ministerial group for co-ordination and follow-up on major projects of strategic importance. He is chairman of Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani) and Hamad Port Steering Committee, along with the Qatar Digital Government Steering Committee. Previously, he served as chairman of Qatar Armed Forces Engineers Qualifying Committee.


What is your assessment on the evolution of projects with private sector's involvement?

MOTC has developed a private-sector participation strategy to engage the private sector in the related transport and communication projects as deemed feasible. Based on a predefined multi-criteria assessment framework, the ministry has initiated several potential projects that can be evolved into strategic partnerships between MOTC and the private sector, mainly in feeder bus services, electric bus charging systems, bus parking operations, on-street metered parking, airport vehicle parking, provision of public transport infrastructure on a cost-share basis, ferry services into the Qatar public transport network involving the private sector, the establishment of a bus assembly plant in Qatar, the provision of bus shelters and bus shelter advertising by the private sector, the provision of bus wrapping and advertising as a revenue sharing venture with private companies, and discussions with the private sector for the development of transit-oriented development (TOD) around metro stations.

What further improvements do Doha Metro and Lusail Tram require to replace or dramatically reduced private transportation in the country?

The Doha Metro has already made great inroads into private car usage by providing world-class metro services that are connected to most areas of Doha by a network of Metrolink services using mid-sized buses that can provide connectivity from the Metro to most neighborhoods, thus alleviating the need for the second car, and in some cases, the first car for families. MOTC is exploring the extension of Doha Metro to other parts of Qatar in the long term. These extensions would benefit residents and workers and encourage further use of public transport. MOTC will lead the way to dramatically reduce private transportation (in cooperation with the Doha Metro, Lusail Tram and Mowasalat) by implementing the following further improvements soon: promoting residential areas near Metro stations as desirable, cost-effective, and smart places to live for lifestyle reasons; introducing an automated integrated fare collection system that provides seamless payment for bus, taxi, and Metro using credit cards or the Sila dedicated public transit payment card; launching an integrated passenger information and journey planner app and website to ensure everyone in Doha always has their journey planner app on their phone and knows the best way to use the system and get to their destination; promoting the integrated public transport system through extensive marketing campaigns and the launch of an integrated public transport brand “Sila;" providing feeder bus connectivity to Metro stations from residential and commercial areas; increasing the number and frequency of public bus services with an additional 500 buses in 2023 to provide a cheap, reliable, and convenient alternative to private transportation; and introducing long-distance bus rapid transit services between Doha, Al Khor, and Mesaieed.

2021 is the year in which Hamad Port becomes 100% operational at full capacity. What does maritime cargo transportation represent for the achievement of Qatar's economic independence and diversification?

Hamad Port's strong capabilities, modern facilities, and advanced systems are leading its position as the gateway to Qatar and a transshipment and a re-export hub in the region, increasing the volume of trade between Qatar and the rest of the world. Last year, Hamad Port achieved a record container volume for the fourth straight year in a row with transshipment volumes rising by 106%. The increase in transshipments is an important sign of the port's role in the region. Multiple container terminals at Hamad Port have been planned to facilitate the expansion of container handling capacity, commensurate with the growing traffic of cargo demand. The port handles a variety of services, including container, general cargo, roll-on/roll-off (RORO) operations, livestock, and offshore supply services. The port has handled more than 5 million TEUs of containerized cargo, more than 5.1 million FT of bulk and breakbulk, 5.9 million FT / 283,000 units of RORO, and more than 1.7 million heads of livestock since it started its commercial operation in December 2016. Efficient management of goods transportation is the key to the achievement of Qatar's economic independence and diversification. Hamad Port is working to attract trade and industrialization to diversify the economy in line with Vision 2030. The services and facilities at Hamad Port have encouraged shipping lines to call their mainline services to Hamad Port directly. The port is currently handling more than 24 direct services of all the major global shipping lines every week. These direct mainline services have opened various new trade routes and opportunities to bolster the growth of trade and industry in Qatar. Hamad Port is instrumental in the efficient shipping of products that companies handle for clients.

Given the high number of tourists expected for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, how will MOTC cooperate with all stakeholders in Qatar to guarantee a safe and successful development of the event?

Since the announcement of Qatar as host of the FIFA World Cup 2022, the state began to make necessary preparations for this important sporting event. Plans have been set up, and work began to implement them in high standards. The authorities have applied quality advanced work mechanisms with high-level coordination to host a successful and distinguished edition of the FIFA World Cup. MOTC has worked with the Civil Aviation Authority, HIA, and Qatar Airways to make all possible efforts to prepare for this prominent sporting event. This cooperation resulted in the launch of complete development processes of the aviation sector in the State of Qatar. Devices and systems used in air navigation were updated, increasing aircraft routes and providing all necessary support to ensure the highest safety levels considering the anticipated increase in air traffic and passenger traffic of visitors during the tournament. With the aim of increasing the capacity of HIA, QCAA recently signed a contract with the leading Swedish company IBG specialized in the management, consulting, and training of aviation sector. The agreement aims to provide all requirements for hosting FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Additionally, the deal includes developing the air navigation system, increasing navigation devices' efficiency, and working on training and developing the skills of air navigation employees to deal with the expected increase and the new devices with high efficiency. Further preparations include the expansion of HIA. An announcement was recently made for the expansion of the aircraft parking area in the western part of the airport and construction of the northern part of the passenger terminal, which increases the passenger capacity of HIA to more than 55 million. What has been implemented so far and what will also be done during the next phase and the World Cup will undoubtedly represent the key for the aviation sector's success in providing a different and exciting experience for visitors during the World Cup.

What are the strategic priorities of MOTC for 2021?

MOTC's strategic plan, which was refreshed in December 2020, contains the following strategic priorities: providing a leading-class integrated transportation system, offering seamless mobility that is accessible and affordable for all; driving digital government transformation through resilient and powerful shared ICT infrastructure and solutions transforming government business models and customer engagement; developing high-performing and innovative institutions to enable the legislative and regulatory development across sectors; enabling digital transformation to help build an internationally competitive and sustainable smart economy and a state-of-the-art transport sector harnessing technology and automation; creating an attractive and competitive platform across sectors supported by a digitally advanced and inclusive society and workforce; ensuring safe and secure ecosystems proactively managing risk and enabling swift emergency response, supported by leading capabilities in digital trust and security; pursuing financial sustainability with optimized government spending; and promoting environmental sustainability through clean and energy efficient measures across the ICT and transportation sectors.

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