Royal Commission for AlUla signs train design deal with French firm SYSTRA 

Royal Commission for AlUla signs train design deal with French firm SYSTRA 
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The tram project is aimed at enhancing the sustainability of AlUla transportation. (SPA)
Royal Commission for AlUla signs train design deal with French firm SYSTRA 
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The first phase of the design is set to be complete in 2023. (Supplied)
Royal Commission for AlUla signs train design deal with French firm SYSTRA 
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AlUla tram to be launched for a better environment. (Supplied)
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Updated 03 July 2022

Royal Commission for AlUla signs train design deal with French firm SYSTRA 

Royal Commission for AlUla signs train design deal with French firm SYSTRA 
  • New transport system will enhance access to major tourist attractions

JEDDAH: The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) signed a tram design agreement with the leading French transportation company SYSTRA on July 2 to advance the AlUla tram project, which will connect the governorate to a number of stations, tracks, routes, landmarks and historical heritage sites.

The tram project aims to enhance the sustainability of AlUla transportation by reducing road congestion and noise levels. It also aims to make effective use of sustainable electric energy and a link between centers, neighborhoods, heritage sites and tourist sites.




The tram project is aimed at enhancing the sustainability of AlUla transportation. (SPA)

Amr Al-Madani, CEO of RCU, said in a TV interview: “AlUla has proven that it is at the center of everyone’s attention, and planning in AlUla affects financial, environmental, and energy sustainability as well.

“Thus, the tram will be part of the solution, not only because it will rely on electric power but also because it will reduce the need to use vehicles that are used to reach sites in the desert, which do not provide a pleasant transportation experience and are environmentally harmful.”

The tram track extends for 50 km, starting from AlUla International Airport in the south to Hegra City in the north. Tram carts feature designs inspired by the natural and historical heritage of AlUla, securing the governorate’s vision of transforming the city into the largest living museum in the world and a global tourism destination.

AlUla is known for its stunning natural and desert landmarks such as Hegra, the old town, Al-Diwan, Ikmah, and the Lion Tombs of Dadan. The tram will augment the tourist experience that celebrates the beauty of the natural environment.

The tram project has been divided into several tracks, such as the northern “Red” track, which connects the most prominent landmark areas and archaeological sites. It allows easy movement between the various main sites specified in “The Journey Through Time” scheme.

The first phases of the tram design are expected to be completed by 2023. The second phase will extend to the south of the governorate with an additional 33 km of track that will reach the airport, consolidating AlUla’s position as a prominent transportation hub.

The French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ludovic Pouille posted a message on his official Twitter account commenting on the news: “Congratulations for the Commission and for SYSTRA.”

The RCU tweeted: “AlUla was the meeting point for convoys throughout history, where its routes connecting the trips were drawn... Today, we are establishing a new stage by signing the contract of #Ula_tram, design in a step that enhances achieving the comprehensive development of the governorate.”


Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company

Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company
Updated 12 sec ago

Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company

Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company

RIYADH: Private businesses will be encouraged to work closely with the public sector on projects in Saudi Arabia’s Qassim region thanks to the creation of a new specialist organization.

The Qassim Region Municipality Company was given the go-ahead to form and create a board of directors by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing.

The company aims to enhance investment activity in the municipal sector in the Qassim region and to establish development projects in partnership with the private sector.


UAE sees financial surplus boom during first quarter

UAE sees financial surplus boom during first quarter
Updated 38 min 29 sec ago

UAE sees financial surplus boom during first quarter

UAE sees financial surplus boom during first quarter

RIYADH: The UAE’s net financial surplus increased by 129 percent during the first quarter of this year, according to data from the UAE Ministry of Finance.

The surplus during the first three months of 2022 amounted to 36.4 billion dirhams ($10.1 billion), compared to 15.9 billion dirhams in the same period last year.

Revenues during the first quarter also increased by 39 percent to 123.77 billion dirhams, Asharq reported, while expenses increased by 16.9 percent to reach 87.41 billion dirhams.


KAPSARC participates in IAEE Tokyo event, invites delegations to Riyadh edition

KAPSARC participates in IAEE Tokyo event, invites delegations to Riyadh edition
Updated 27 min 1 sec ago

KAPSARC participates in IAEE Tokyo event, invites delegations to Riyadh edition

KAPSARC participates in IAEE Tokyo event, invites delegations to Riyadh edition
  • The KAPSARC experts spoke at three key plenary and 11 concurrent sessions to share their insights on current global energy and environmental concerns

TOKYO: A delegation from Saudi Arabia’s energy economics and sustainability think tank, the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, participated in the 43rd International Association for Energy Economics conference in Tokyo last week.

Titled “Mapping the Energy Future, Voyage in Uncharted Territory,” the conference ran from July 31 to Aug. 4, with over 600 attendees.

The KAPSARC experts spoke at three key plenary and 11 concurrent sessions to share their insights on current global energy and environmental concerns, and how to find solutions to help shape future energy policies and encourage climate action.

KAPSARC’s talks and presentations also included the future role of fossil fuels, decarbonization risks and opportunities, renewables, energy economics, electricity markets, transportation and oil market stabilization.

During the plenary session “Climate Change and Decarbonization Challenges: Risks and Opportunities,” KAPSARC Research Fellow Dr. Noura Mansouri said: “Today, we have the opportunity of decarbonization represented in the Circular Carbon Economy, which is a new framework that values all options and encourages all efforts to reduce carbon accumulation in the atmosphere.”

KAPSARC oil and gas market expert, Hamid Al-Sadoon, explained that more investment in the hydrocarbon industry is needed to bridge the potential future gap between energy supply and demand.

“In all likelihood, hydrocarbons are here to stay. Simply because the developing world not only represents a large chunk of the demand, but they also need hydrocarbons to raise the standards of living of their citizens and develop their economies­ — that entails using more fossil fuels to reach parity with advanced nations,” he said.

Tatsuya Terazawa, chairman and CEO of Japanese think tank the Institute of Energy Economics Japan, added: “We need to face the energy challenges to better cope with high energy prices and enhance energy security while at the same time realize our long-term goals of carbon neutrality and develop the necessary supply chains for energy sustainability.” 

KAPSARC President Fahad Alajlan also spoke at the closing plenary.

“The contrast between the discussions we had over the past few days and the discussions we had during COP 26 is stark,” he said. “COP 26 discussions had a prescriptive view on what we all need to do to achieve net zero by 2050 without taking into consideration the more complex nature of nations worldwide. 

“Over the past few days, we have together adopted a more nuanced approach towards collective climate solutions that are holistic and inclusive,” he added.

During his closing remarks, Alajlan invited participants to attend the 44th Annual International IAEE event in Riyadh, which is being organized by KAPSARC and the Saudi Association for Energy Economics and being held on Feb. 4-8, 2023. It will be the first time the IAEE has hosted its annual conference in the Middle East.

KAPSARC has waived conference registration fees for all attendees.


Macro snapshot — China’s exports to Russia grow for the first time since March; Japan runs current account deficit

Macro snapshot — China’s exports to Russia grow for the first time since March; Japan runs current account deficit
Updated 45 min 24 sec ago

Macro snapshot — China’s exports to Russia grow for the first time since March; Japan runs current account deficit

Macro snapshot — China’s exports to Russia grow for the first time since March; Japan runs current account deficit

CAIRO: Chinese exports to Russia snapped four months of declines and grew robustly in July, while Russian shipments to China also held up well, official customs data showed.

Shipments to sanctions-hit Russia rose 22.2 percent in July from a year earlier in dollar terms, shaking off the decline of 17 percent in June and marking the first growth since March, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data released on Sunday.

Imports growth from Russia sustained an elevated pace at 49.3 percent in July, though slower than a 56 percent gain in June and a 79.6 percent rise in May.

Japan runs first current account deficit in 5 months

Japan ran a current account deficit for the first time in five months in June as surging imports eclipsed exports, data showed on Monday, highlighting the pressure that higher energy and raw material prices are putting on the economy. 

The world’s third-largest economy ran a current account deficit of 132.4 billion yen ($980 million) in June, government data showed, reversing 872 billion yen from the same month a year earlier.

The data, which marked the first monthly deficit since January, was smaller than economists’ median forecast for a 703.8 billion shortfall in a Reuters poll.

Taiwan’s July exports up

Taiwan’s July exports increased 14.2 percent year-on-year yet the government warned of uncertainty ahead. 

Exports rose on sustained demand for technology products with shipments to China picking up, and while the government said the outlook was good for semiconductors it warned of growing uncertainty for the global economy.

According to the Finance Ministry, exports rose 14.2 percent in July from a year earlier to $43.32 billion. It is the second highest monthly figure on record and up for the 25th consecutive month.

That was slightly slower than the 15.2 percent rise recorded in June, but better than the 11.65 percent expansion forecast from a Reuters poll. 

 

(With input from Reuters) 


Allianz planning to sell stake in Saudi Arabia unit: Bloomberg

Allianz planning to sell stake in Saudi Arabia unit: Bloomberg
Updated 08 August 2022

Allianz planning to sell stake in Saudi Arabia unit: Bloomberg

Allianz planning to sell stake in Saudi Arabia unit: Bloomberg

RIYADH: German insurer Allianz is planning to sell its Saudi Arabia unit, as the firm eyes streamlining its portfolio and raising cash, Bloomberg reported quoting people familiar with the matter. 

According to the report, Allianz is currently working with an adviser to sell its controlling stake in Allianz Saudi Fransi Cooperative Insurance Co.

To date this year, shares of Allianz Saudi Fransi have dropped about 44 percent and the company’s market value currently stands at roughly $231 million. 

The people who wished to stay anonymous noted that some insurers have expressed preliminary interest in acquiring the business. 

They, however, made it clear that deliberations are still at their early stages, and Allianz may even decide to retain the asset. 

Allianz Saudi Fransi was established in 2007 and is a joint venture of Allianz Group and Banque Saudi Fransi. According to its annual report, Allianz holds 51 percent of the firm’s shares.