Volvo Trucks chief vows to deepen Saudi presence

Volvo Trucks chief vows to deepen Saudi presence
Volvo Trucks President Claes Nilsson gestures during an interview with Arab News at the King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh on Tuesday. He is flanked by Amr M. Khashoggi, vice president of human resources and group affairs at Zahid Tractor, left, and Nasser Jamil Bayram, director of Zahid Tractor’s commercial vehicles division. (AN photo)
Updated 17 May 2017

Volvo Trucks chief vows to deepen Saudi presence

Volvo Trucks chief vows to deepen Saudi presence

RABIGH: Volvo Trucks is deepening its footprint in Saudi Arabia, the company’s President Claes Nilsson said Tuesday during a visit to the Kingdom.
“In all our markets, our main objective is to make sure haulage operators stay productive and can keep their Volvo trucks rolling, except for planned stops when we deliver efficient workshop services,” he told Arab News.
“Our customers in Saudi Arabia appreciate our trucks, and we have a good market share of 37 percent. In 10 years, we’ve nearly tripled our truck population in Saudi Arabia. Going forward, our ambition is to maintain that good volume momentum, significantly develop the services market and continue to make a positive contribution to our customer’s bottom line.”
He said Volvo has had a very fruitful relationship with Zahid Tractor for nearly 40 years. “This partnership brings together two very strong and recognized brands in Saudi Arabia, which give our customers a very strong business partner capable of making them more productive and profitable through our products and services.”
Nilsson said Volvo puts a premium on safety: “Safety is built into our brand heritage and culture. Volvo engineers are responsible for some of the world’s most important safety innovations, including the three-point seatbelt. Our vision is that no Volvo truck will be involved in an accident.”
Talking about the future of the heavy-duty truck industry, he said: “In the short term, we expect regional volatility to impact the local economy. In the long term, Saudi Arabia will continue to remain a priority market for Volvo Trucks, as we see much potential to grow our business through reforms and investments taking place under Vision 2030, which will help diversify and grow the Saudi economy.”
Nilsson said he was impressed by the pace of development in the Kingdom. “Last time I was in Saudi Arabia was five years ago. In these five years, I’m amazed to see the development. It’s very obvious in the infrastructure, roads and railways. It’s very impressive.”
Amr M. Khashoggi, vice president of human resources and group affairs at Zahid Tractor, said the company has been well-established for more than 100 years.
“Zahid has been a well-established business, owned by a family that has been in commerce for more than a 100 years. They have very strong shared values. And we are committed to them. Whenever we look for partnership, we look for like-minded organizations who share our values and vision, and who aren’t only concerned about earning money, but also building a business that lasts for a very long time.”
Nasser Jamil Bayram, director at Zahid Tractor’s commercial vehicles division, said the partnership started in 1980 with a vision to provide high-quality trucks and after-sales services to the growing Saudi market.
“For 37 years, this vision has been a reality thanks to the continuous joint efforts of both companies and the development of the Saudi workforce,” he told Arab News.
“In today’s global economy, we face many challenges. However, we believe that the Saudi market is large and flexible, with exceptional human resources and an environment conducive to local investment. We’re fully aligned with the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 and Vision 2030, specifically as they relate to the thriving industrial sector.”
He said working with Volvo, “we provide the best solutions for the transportation sector, and serve our customers through a number of branches strategically located throughout the Kingdom.”
Explaining Zahid Tractor’s plan to increase the local content of Volvo trucks in order to meet NTP 2020 and Vision 2030, Bayram said his company is aiming for 30 percent of materials used in the assembly of its trucks to be locally produced, while meeting international standards and specifications.
“With the Saudi Aramco-sponsored ‘Sufficiency’ program, and the fact that the market still needs local manufacturers to create healthy competition and a local abundance of products that can be exported abroad, there will be a reduction in the importation of products, which will result in an increase in the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP).”
He said Zahid Tractor recognizes that the transportation industry is a vital economic pillar for any country.
“Therefore, it’s imperative that all operators respect traffic safety regulations and not be distracted by any other factors or tools during driving that may endanger their lives and the lives of other road-users,” he said.
“We have a number of initiatives to create awareness for a safe driving environment, including campaigns that highlight the advanced and modern safety features of Volvo trucks. These campaigns are designed for government authorities, companies, customers and students.”
Bayram added: “In addition, we emphasize that in 2018, all long-haulage models of FH Volvo trucks will be equipped with safety and security features not as an option but as standard. The first objective is to reduce the number of accidents and injuries of road-users, as well as the cost of operation and protection of truck drivers. We’ll also work in cooperation with the authorities to create a safer traffic environment.”


Top US fuel pipeline operator pushes to recover from cyberattack

Top US fuel pipeline operator pushes to recover from cyberattack
Updated 35 min 3 sec ago

Top US fuel pipeline operator pushes to recover from cyberattack

Top US fuel pipeline operator pushes to recover from cyberattack
  • Colonial moves 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline
  • DarkSide is known for deploying ransomware

NEW YORK: Colonial Pipeline, top US fuel pipeline operator, continued work on Sunday to recover from a ransomware cyberattack that forced it to shut down on Friday and sparked worries of a spike in retail gasoline prices.
The incident is one of the most disruptive digital ransom operations ever reported and has prompted calls from American lawmakers to tighten up protection for critical US energy infrastructure against hackers.
Colonial said on Saturday it was “continuing to monitor the impact of this temporary service halt” and to work to restore service. It did not give an estimate for a restart date.
Colonial moves 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline and other fuels from refiners on the Gulf Coast to consumers in the eastern and southern United States. It also serves some of the largest US airports, including Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport, the world’s busiest by passenger traffic.
Retail fuel experts including the American Automobile Association said an outage lasting several days could have significant impacts on regional fuel supplies, particularly in the US Southeast.
While the US government investigation is in early stages, a former US official and two industry sources said the hackers are likely a professional cybercriminal group and that a group dubbed “DarkSide” was likely among the potential suspects.
DarkSide is known for deploying ransomware and extorting victims while avoiding targets in post-Soviet states. Ransomware is a type of malware designed to lock down systems by encrypting data and demanding payment to regain access.
Cybersecurity firm FireEye has also been brought in to respond to the attack, according to the two industry sources. FireEye declined to comment. Colonial said late on Saturday it was working with a “leading, third-party cybersecurity firm,” but did not name the firm.
Bloomberg News, citing people familiar with the matter, reported late on Saturday that the hackers are part of DarkSide and took nearly 100 gigabytes of data out of Colonial’s network on Thursday ahead of the pipeline shutdown.
Colonial did not immediately reply to an email from Reuters seeking comment outside usual US business hours.
US President Joe Biden was briefed on the incident on Saturday morning, a White House spokesperson said, adding that the government was working to try to help the company restore operations and prevent supply disruptions.
The privately held, Georgia-based company is owned by CDPQ Colonial Partners, IFM (US) Colonial Pipeline 2, KKR-Keats Pipeline Investors, Koch Capital Investments Company and Shell Midstream Operating.
Gasoline futures and diesel futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose on Friday after the outage was reported. In previous Colonial outages, retail prices have risen substantially, if briefly.
Oil refining companies contacted by Reuters on Saturday said their operations had not yet been impacted.


Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo

Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo
Updated 09 May 2021

Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo

Emirates converts 16 passenger planes to carry cargo
  • It comes as some big airlines are faced with competing forces of supply and demand in the cabins and bellies of their aircraft

DUBAI: Emirates has converted 16 passenger planes to transport cargo and is also using some of its fleet to carry goods in the cabin.
Nabil Sultan, Emirates SkyCargo divisional senior vice president said the airline was studying its capacity, in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Sunday.
“So far we have converted 16 passenger aircraft to fully cargo flights,” he said. “We also use the remaining fleet, where we have put cargo in the main cabin, especially to move essential PPE goods and various other medical material.”
It comes as some big airlines are faced with competing forces of supply and demand in the cabins and bellies of their aircraft — as cargo volumes accelerate while at the same time passenger numbers remain subdued.
Earlier on Sunday Emirates said it would begin shipping aid for free into India to help fight the coronavirus.
It comes as air cargo demand has risen to its highest recorded level ever in the wake of the pandemic.


Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data

Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data
Updated 09 May 2021

Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data

Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data
  • The group started publishing its own inflation data in September amid claims from opposition parties that the official agency is under-reporting price increases

DUBAI: Turkey’s statistics agency filed a criminal complaint against a group of local researchers publishing alternative inflation data, Bloomberg reported.

The government body demanded ENAGroup, an independent inflation research group, be fined for “purposefully defaming” the official statistics institution and “misguiding public opinion,” according to documents seen by the news wire.
The group started publishing its own inflation data in September amid claims from opposition parties that the official agency is under-reporting price increases, Bloomberg said
ENAGroup’s inflation figures are higher than the official data. Its consumer price index rose 2.62 percent in April from a month earlier, more than double the 1.1 percent reported by the official agency. The group reported an annual inflation rate of 36.7 percent for 2020, Bloomberg reported.
Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Lutfi Elvan said that the statistics agency filed a complaint against a group “for the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic.”
The group aims to “damage and discredit the Turkish Statistical Institute” by spreading misleading data that are used by opposition parties, Elvan said.

 


Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO

Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO
Updated 09 May 2021

Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO

Abu Dhabi's ADNOC said to invite banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for drilling unit IPO
  • ADNOC is planning to take the unit public in the third quarter
  • ADNOC Drilling owns and operates a large fleet of rigs

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) has invited investment banks to pitch for bookrunner roles for the initial public offering of its drilling unit, two sources told Reuters on Sunday.
The oil giant invited a handful of international and local banks to take part in the process of the public share sale of ADNOC Drilling, which is due later this month, they said.
ADNOC is planning to take the unit public in the third quarter, they added. One of the sources previously said ADNOC could raise at least $1 billion from the share sale.
ADNOC, which supplies nearly 3 percent of global oil demand, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Sunday.
ADNOC Drilling owns and operates a large fleet of rigs, including 75 onshore rigs, 20 offshore jackup rigs, and 11 well water rigs, according to its website.
The drilling business is critical for ADNOC’s upstream operations, helping the oil company reach its production targets.
ADNOC Chief Executive Sultan Al-Jaber has been chief architect of the transformation strategy the company embarked on more than four years ago, building an investment team to monetise assets and raise funds from international private equity groups.
It is also planning to float Fertiglobe, a fertiliser joint venture with Dutch-listed chemical producer OCI later this year.


Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal

Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal
Updated 09 May 2021

Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal

Google-backed Firefly comes to the Middle East after Abu Dhabi deal
  • IHC-owned Multiply Marketing Consultancy (MMC) acquired the minority stake in the company

DUBAI: A unit of Abu Dhabi’s International Holding Company (IHC) has acquired a stake in Google-backed Firefly, which provides street-level digital media on taxis and rideshare vehicles.
IHC-owned Multiply Marketing Consultancy (MMC) acquired the minority stake in the company, it said in a stock exchange filing on Sunday.
Firefly operates across major US cities, working with major taxi and rideshare companies to install advertising displays atop their vehicles.
The proprietary screens feature content based on location, and are Internet-enabled. The platform attracts millions of impressions per month, according to a statement.
The deal will expand the company’s operations in the Middle East, and will set up an office within MMC’s Abu Dhabi headquarters.
“Investments in our communications vertical ensure that our media teams are servicing our local clients with the latest, most innovative and analytically-precise technology available on the market,” MMC chief Samia Bouazza said.
Gulf governments are ramping up their technology investments in a regional race for supremacy in the sector which is seen as a critical path to economic diversification.
Firefly will become part of Multiply Group’s communications vertical, which includes global agency MMC, Viola, as well as other minority stakes in companies such as Yieldmo, a digital advertising and attention analytics company.