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Drive Safe


he term road traffic safety is an indication of how safe individual users are on some particular road, or on the roads belonging to some region. The main danger to road users is the likelihood of a traffic collision. Such dangers can be reduced by individual road users operating cautiously and defensively, by building roads in alignment with competent traffic engineering practices, by the application of rational traffic control methods, and by designing road vehicles so they are more able to avoid and survive collisions.


Senior Manager - Dossier Business Unit Shivkumar Gaitonde Senior Media Executive Girija Shankar Mohanty Senior Art Director Sandesh S. Rangnekar Senior Designer Shameer Moideen Translator Mustafa Kamal Production Manager Govindraj Ramesh Photography Rajesh Burman Motasim Abdullah Othman Al Balushi Corporate Chief Executive Sandeep Sehgal Executive Vice President Alpana Roy Vice President Ravi Raman Senior Business Support Executive Radha Kumar Business Support Executive Zuwaina Said Al-Rashdi

Road traffic crashes are one of the world’s largest public health and injury prevention problems. The problem is all the more acute because the victims are overwhelmingly healthy prior to their crashes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than a million people are killed on the world’s roads each year. The 2nd Traffic Safety Exhibition to be held in October is meant to continue the efforts undertaken by the Royal Oman Police to tackle the problem of high number of road accidents. Around 2,499 road accidents were reported in the first quarter of this year and resulted in the death of 302 and injuries to 3,868 people. Around 1,020 accidents occurred in Muscat governorate, which resulted in the death of 45 people and injuries to 1,228 people. The 2nd Traffic Safety Exhibition will be held from 18 to 20 October 2011, organised by Oman International Trade and Exhibitions in cooperation with the Royal Oman Police. A significant number of participations from the government and private sectors are expected this year to bring in the importance of life and jointly initiate work with the government to reduce traffic contingencies. The event this year aims to highlight the concrete efforts undertaken by the Royal Oman Police to implement the directives of His Majesty to disseminate safety and security all over the Sultanate’s roads. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to witness the latest products in the safety field. The event will provide an opportunity for car agencies, car owners and traders, spare parts traders and others to showcase their products, ranging from air bags, car seats, seat belts, tires and other supplies. The event this year will also introduce the ‘Innovations Zone’ programme, which will allow exhibitors to launch their ground-breaking products and services to the visitors.

Published by United Press & Publishing LLC PO Box 3305, Ruwi, Postal Code - 112 Muscat, Sultanate of Oman Tel (968) 24700896 Fax (968) 24707939 Email: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person or organisation acting or refraining as a result of material in this publication. OER accepts no responsibility for all advertising contents.



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October 2011  DOSSIER




The Road to Safety

Companies across the board have been proactively promoting the importance of safe driving habits Editorial�����������������������������������������������������������������1 News ���������������������������������������������������������������������4 EVENTS: Home Show 2011�����������������������������������������������08 Food & Hotel Oman 2011���������������������������������26 INTERVIEW: Brigadier Jamal bin Naseeb Al Shanfari�������29 SPONSORED FEATURES: Taageer Finance Company SAOG�����������������36 Opal�������������������������������������������������������������������38

TALKING INNOVATION Products and safety innovations being developed worldwide in order to reduce road accidents and create a more endurable driving experience


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Congestion and Road Safety in the Spotlight

Countries in the GCC have some of the highest road traffic fatality rates in the world, as reported by the UN and increasing the safety on roads is one of the prime concerns for the nations. These key issues and more will be addressed at the Gulf Traffic Conference 2011. The two-day conference, to be held from December 12 to 14, 2011, features a line-up of 14 expert speakers, with key topics including improving road safety through the role of the police, public awareness and participation. Other major issues include developing strategies and plans for plausible alternative means of transport for residents, and exploitation of the advancements made and challenges faced in the implementation of intelligent transport systems. Increasing road safety and reducing traffic congestion are major concerns in the GCC countries which, according to the UN, have some of the highest road traffic fatality rates in the world. These will be key issues for debate at the Gulf Traffic Conference, as regional and international experts in road traffic and transportation set out to establish the top priorities in terms of development. Richard Pavitt, Exhibition Director for Gulf Traffic, said, “In support of the UN’s Decade for Action for Road Safety, the Gulf Traffic 2011 Conference provides the platform for regional and international leading experts in road traffic and transportation to collaborate with one another and establish what is already in the region, and clarify what needs to be brought in an effort to further develop and ensure road safety.” 4

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New drivers face tighter rules

The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai has been eyeing a set of new rules that are aimed at improving the safety of new drivers on the city’s roads. The new rules include sending novice motorists to attend special lectures on road safety and this might be introduced as early as next year, ahead of a national scheme that will tighten restrictions on drivers in the first three years of their licence. According to Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of licensing at the RTA, “What

we are doing in Dubai is looking at restrictions we can impose which may not be that complicated and which we can enforce quite quickly. Simple things like requiring students to undergo lectures on safety – those are easy to implement and don’t have to be at the federal level. We would only renew [an individual’s] license if they brought their certificate from the driving centre to say they have attended certain lectures. We’ll probably look at doing this in 2012.”

Road Construction Employs Safety Features Safe roads are vital for a safe driving experience and the High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh are ensuring the same. The Commission is using advanced safety systems to develop King Abdullah Road, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which include, equipping the tunnels ‘with emergency support services in accordance with international specifications of traffic safety.’ The systems that are being put into place will serve to issue early warning signals via state-of-the-art devices that measure visibility and levels of toxic gases inside the tunnels. The tunnels

will also have systems in place to combat fire inside the tunnels such as fire extinguishers. Special equipment will provide lights when visibility is too low or in the case of electricity breakdown to guide individuals to safe exits on the sides of the tunnels and also supplied with backup generators that supply power in case of power cuts, in addition to engineering equipment that help evacuate trapped motorists to safety. Safety equipment inside the tunnels also includes a system that helps in determining the speed of air entering the tunnels.


Tackling Traffic Woes

Qatar’s initiative to improve road safety

A new project is set to tackle the traffic problem in the Ruwi area. Muscat Municipality recently awarded a contract that entails the expansion of the Darsait-Wadi Al Kabir road, construction of new flyovers and junctions and even a subway system. This project seeks to alleviate a sizeable amount of traffic along Bait al Falaj Street all related road networks such as the Al QurumDarsait Heights road till Wadi al Kabir. The project, which will employ the latest technology and built against international benchmarks, will also include a subway system and pedestrian overpasses along with in-depth analyses of the system to ensure future traffic needs are met – until the year 2036.

In an effort to improve its cities’ traffic systems and road safety, Qatar is setting up a new, state-fothe-art research centre. Under an MoU, Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), a member of the Texas A & M University, will set up the unit to reduce road accidents in Qatar through development of better traffic and road safety systems. Called the

Municipal Council discusses traffic

In an effort to ease traffic, the Municipal Council discussed allotting fixed timings for the movement of trucks transporting goods in and about Muttrah last month. Also among the discussed topics were issues pertinent to residents of the Muscat Governorate such as the removal of cafes and kiosks that have been built on public lands without acquiring the appropriate title deeds. A memorandum about obsolete vehicles was also reviewed. This meeting was held under the auspices of Sultan bin Hamdoon al Harthy, Chairman of Muscat Municipality. 6

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Qatar Transportation Centre (QTC), the initiative will be engaged in a five-year research programme to study and find solutions to Qatar’s traffic problems and develop a ‘safe and efficient traffic and transportation system’ which will not only cater to the existing needs of the country but also meet future demands.

Unifying GCC Driving Licenses

In a move that could make transition from one GCC nation to another much easier, senior traffic officials from various GCC states are said to be deliberating on the concept of issuing a single driver’s license which would be valid throughout the entire region. For this purpose efforts are on to make sure that member-countries have unified tests for applicants in order to be eligible to obtain a driver’s licence. The aforementioned proposal of unification is under currently discussion.

Radars to monitor traffic, increased

Main roads and expressways in Saudi Arabia will be seeing an increase in the number of traffic cameras. In an attempt to make it safer for drivers, the roads will be equipped with a system that has been described as “a hightech system for controlling and managing traffic flow and detecting violations through a network of digital cameras linked to the National Information Center of the Ministry of Interior.” This is the Saher System and it aims to improve level of traffic safety; utilise the latest and most advanced technology in the field of intelligent transportation (ITS) in order to create a safe traffic environment; upgrade the existing road networks; enhance public security by using the latest surveillance systems and ensure accurate and constant implementation of traffic regulations.


ENERGY CONSERVATION TAKES SPOLIGHT AT HOME SHOW 2011 Muscat Electricity Distribution Company will be highlighting the value of energy conservation at Home Show 2011


uscat Electricity Distribution Company (MEDC), the Sultanate’s leading power distribution firm, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Global Exhibitions and Conferences LLC (GEC) for the Home Show 2011. MEDC will educate consumers about the importance of energy conservation, electrical fire safety, and protection of electrical assets from theft and vandalism during the Home Show 2011, which is scheduled to be held in December. Held under the patronage of the Ministry of Housing, the Home Show 2011 is Oman’s only international exhibition that will cater specifically to the requirements of homeowners, homebuilders and property developers. The three-day event, which is organised by GEC, will be held on December 13-15 at the Oman International Exhibition Centre. “The Home Show 2011 is an ideal platform for us to encourage our customers to always do their part in conserving energy and in ensuring the efficient use of electricity in their homes,” said Zahran Zahir Al Ruqeishi, Corporate Communication Specialist at MEDC. “In addition, the event will also give us an opportunity to further increase everyone’s awareness on electrical fire safety.” Electricity Holding Company (EHC) together with MEDC and its other 8

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The three-day event, which is organised by GEC, will be held on December 13-15 at the Oman International Exhibition Centre subsidiaries also launched the “Save Energy Oman” campaign last year. The initiative promotes energy conservation especially during the summer months when electricity demand in the Sultanate almost doubles. The exhibition will prominently showcase everything related to home design, construction, renovation, properties and mortgage finance. An extensive range of products, including doors and windows,

lighting fixtures, kitchen and bathroom products, home appliances, furniture and furnishings, paint products, home décor, tiles and ceramics, and wall and floor coverings, will be on display. More details on the event are available online at Tel: +968-24783800 Fax: +968-24783500


The Road to Safety

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Companies across the board have been proactively promoting the importance of safe driving habits. dossier takes a look at some of the initiatives


oad safety has been the focal point of debates and discussion and is a major area of concern. At the time of drafting this story, between October 5 to 7, 2011 there were already five deaths reported and as many as 19 collision and 38 injuries. And these figures just span two days.

Despite the constant efforts by the authorities to promote safe driving practices, Oman has one of the ‘worst reported road crash fatality rates in the world’. According to reports by the Ministry of National Economy, in the year 2009, 953 people lost their lives in various accidents ranging from overspeeding to negligence to bad driving etiquette. There were a total of 7253 accidents (which was a slight dip from the preceding years) and 9783 injuries as a direct result of these accidents. In fact, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global status report predicted that ‘by 2030, deaths from road crashes will rise to the fifth leading cause of death globally and that rates will double in

low-medium income countries such as Oman.’ It has been reported that for most people, globally, the most dangerous thing that they do while at work is drive. And employer’s world over are beginning to view this more and more seriously. It goes without saying that for organisations ensuring that their staff comply with road traffic regulations is important. This covers aspects as diverse as requirements, for vehicles to be regularly examined for road worthiness through to the application of speed limits. However, managing the risks to employees who drive at work needs more than just compliance with road traffic legislation. Employers are increasingly beginning to take initiatives in this regard and taking appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their activities when at work. This includes the time when they are driving, or riding at work, whether

Managing the risks to employees who drive at work needs more than just compliance with road traffic legislation October 2011  DOSSIER



Keeping aside the moral perspective of the employer’s duty towards the safety of his staff, there’s also the case of organisational costs associated with work-related accidents. It is reported that the true costs of accidents to organisations are nearly always higher than just the costs of repairs and insurance claims. Irrespective of the size of the business, managing workrelated road safety can have considerable benefits. It allows managers to exercise better control over costs and resources as well as legal and insurance fees. Reduced risk of work-related ill health, improved morale, and reduced running costs through better driving standards are just some of the possible outcomes of maintain an incident-free work environment.

on road transportation and road safety management has been one of their prime areas of focus. Says Hamed Abdullah Al-Esry, Corporate Road Safety Advisor, “At PDO, we have always followed a ‘safety is first’ policy and we strongly believe that the lives of people are of utmost importance.” In light of this, PDO has introduced many initiatives on road safety. The 12 Life-Saving Rules, which have been carefully selected, apply to everyone under PDO’s operation control and out of these 12, four are directly linked to road safety. They are basic ‘Dos and Don’ts’ that employees are expected to comply with and is a step towards their ‘Goal Zero Journey’. According to the four road safety rules, “All passengers must wear seatbelts and not just the driver and the front co-passenger,” explains Hamed. “We also do not advocate the use of mobile phones while

driving – even Bluetooth and handsfree aren’t recommended. This is because; we aren’t only talking about being in control of the vehicle but emphasising the importance of concentration of the mind. People tend to talk on the phone and get away with it, but it builds a dangerous sense of confidence and that’s when accidents happen.” The third rule deals with adhering to speed limits. “Even though we have speed limits, we advise people to drive according to road conditions. If the road conditions don’t allow you to drive at the recommended speed – then you don’t have to.” And finally, adhering to the journey management system. The concept of journey management is quite resourceful. In the case where a driver is expected to drive a particular vehicle for 20kms or more (one way), then PDO requires a journey planner to organise the trip for the person. “There are dedicated journey managers who ensure that

RoadTraffic Accidents

(Staff & Contractors)

Accidents per million kilometres driven

In Oman, the drive to create safer roads and traffic conditions has gained significant momentum for over a decade. Many organisations are actively participating in training their staff, holding seminars to decrease the number of accidents on the road. Dossier met up with some of the key players in the industry to find out what steps they have been taking to ensure that the roads today become safer. Petroleum Development of Oman (PDO) is undoubtedly the beacon of change, in terms of health, safety and environment, which extends to road safety policies and initiatives as well. PDO’s operations rely heavily 12 DOSSIER  October 2011





















Figure 1: Source-PDO 2010 Annual Report

this is in a company or hired vehicle, or in the employees own vehicle. There will always be risks associated with driving. Although individuals may not be in complete control of all the factors, there is an understanding that employers have a responsibility towards their staff to take practical steps to manage these risks and bring them down to as low a level as reasonably possible in the same way as they would in the workplace.


the driver arrives at the other end safe and within the time-frame set up for it. In case something goes wrong, the journey manager can use the system to respond immediately to emergencies. As you can see, we try as much as possible to keep people safe and sound.” PDO also has a ‘Drive to Survive’ campaign which was started circa late 80s; the main aim of the initiative was to educate people. Says Hamed, “It was one of the first programmes when we started concentrating on road safety and to ensure that everyone works [and drives] safely.” PDO provides Defensive Driving courses to all of their employees, contractors and sub-contractors. And it is mandatory for everyone involved in their operations. “We also have Defensive Driving forums wherein we hold talks and seminars on specific subjects. The driving forums are led by directors to lay emphasis on safe driving,” adds Hamed. This is to ensure people drive safely even during their personal time, rather than just during work hours. In 2010, PDO installed In-Vehicle Monitoring Systems (IVMS) in all its fleet. The system is similar to black-boxes in aircrafts and monitors all the activities within the vehicle. “The IVMS is coordinated through GPRS and GPS so we can track the movements of the vehicle at all times. The system is also very economical; it ensures that the drivers adhere to the routes set for them, and that there do not take any short cuts especially on graded roads.” It is also a companion for the driver of sorts because, if something goes wrong, it alerts the journey manager immediately. The question one needs to ask now is whether all this actually working? The statistics certainly seem encouraging. There has been 14 DOSSIER  October 2011

T.G. Philip, Vice President (QHSE), Galfar

a dramatic drop in the number of accidents and road fatalities. According to PDO’s annual report, ‘the Company was able to reduce the number of road traffic accidents, [although] it regrettably experienced six road fatalities, three of which were work related.’ 2010, recorded the lowest number of road traffic accidents (RTAs) per million kilometres driven – 0.36 as opposed to 1.30 in 2011 (Fig 1). “The main aspect is for people to believe in the workforce,” concludes Hamed. “Education is also very important. As a country, we are still in the early stages when it comes to road safety. But at the end of the day it is an investment for the future, and hence we encourage contractors to invest in this aspect. Our HSE and road policies and resources are available for everyone to access and benefit from and we always encourage that everyone make use of these.” Galfar Engineering & Contracting SAOG (Galfar) has a long standing

reputation for high standards in all its operations and has won many accolades from prestigious international organisations for their HSE performances. Their commitment towards safety also extends to work-related road safety and they have specific Road Safety Policies which are not only aimed at employees but sub-contractors as well. “We believe that all incidents are preventable; with this as a basis, we have committed ourselves to protect the employees and other stakeholders from injuries and ill health, prevent damage to assets and minimise impact on the environment in the course of our business,” says T.G. Philip, Vice President (QHSE). Galfar, as an organisation, is committed to reduce the impact of Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) through deliberate interventions and have embarked many initiative to curb incidents related to road traffic: Norms for driver deployment;


driver training and authorisation, Drivers’ forums to discuss/learn from incidents; behavioural sessions and incentive schemes for drivers; safe journey management; In-Vehicle Monitoring Systems (IVMS) in highrisk vehicles; disciplinary action against wilful violations; and wellmaintained fleet. And the numbers speak for themselves. The Road Traffic Accident Frequency (RTAF) – number of RTAs for every one million kilometres driven by Galfar’s vehicles – has shown a consistent drop in 2011. “Fatalities and injuries as a result of road accidents have become a scourge which warrant immediate action from all stakeholders which include the Royal Oman Police and other Government Departments, Non-Govermental Organisations, Public/private sector, industry associations, media and the general public,” adds Philip. He believes that companies need to have clear expectations set for the drivers in terms of their age, qualifications, training, experience, skills and attitude. “There should be consequences against wilful violations and incentives for achieving desired performance levels. Commissioning senior drivers as mentors to younger and lesser experienced drivers will also go a long way. And finally, the commitment to share the responsibility to improve road safety is of utmost importance since we share the road with others.” At Arabian Industries LLC and WorleyParsons-Arabian Industries JV, work-related road safety forms an integral part of their HSE policy. While many believe that safety systems and high-end technology serve as a means to achieving safer roads, Amer Al-Suleimani, Managing Director, succinctly points out that it is equally vital to take note of what kind of people are allowed to drive the vehicles. “IVMS and similar technology are 16 DOSSIER  October 2011

Amer Al-Suleimani, Managing Director, Arabian Industries LLC

becoming increasingly common and most organisations make use of these state-of-the-art technologies. However, in my personal opinion, this is not going to significantly stop road accidents from occurring. People are the most challenging part of the road safety equation and that is what we should be looking at. “If you look at the statistics, most of the accidents are restricted to the age group of 18 to 25. And hence, we generally do not employ anyone who hasn’t passed the age of 21 to drive light vehicles and the age of 25 to drive heavy vehicles. This has significantly reduced the potential for accidents.” The company also has seven Defensive Driving courses and annual assessments. These assessments are very individualspecific and re-testing may range from six months to a year. Every annual assessment also includes eye-testing for drivers. “But the fact remains that the biggest challenge the industry’s facing now is

educating young drivers. We need to get into their hearts and minds the concept of safe driving.” Amer strongly believes that the concept of safety has to be brought about via a change of mind-set and culture. And in order to bring up a new generation of safe drivers, it has to employed right from childhood. “When we do not follow safe driving habits, we send a wrong message to our children,” adds Amer. “They feel that being in a car is safe, but reality is quite the opposite.” He points out that school buses breach even the most basic safety regulations. This then serves as a subliminal message to the children that this is normal and that they are safe in an environment like that. He goes on to say, “We lay so much emphasis on safety in the industry and among adults, and we ignore the children, who are the future of our nation.” There certainly is something inherently wrong with this and it is up to society as a whole to change it.


Rajan Tanwani, Corporate HSE Manager adds, “The ROP lays the down the law, but compliance is in our hands. Let’s take the case of our drivers; they work with us for 15 days and for the next 15 days they are entitled to leave. While they are on the job, they drive perfectly and maintain a good driving record. But when they drive during their personal time, they have been involved in many minor incidences.” This again reflects the need to educate drivers regarding safety as a lifestyle choice and not just something required to keep your job. Rajan also believes that HSE compliance and safe attitudes are linked to happy and satisfied employees. “Both, at WorleyParsons - Arabian Industries JV and Arabian Industries, you will find that the management is very empathetic towards drivers and their needs and somewhere in their minds, they do not want to lose the job.” This positive work environment reflects in other areas as well, namely, their driving. Their initiatives certainly are ontrack. At the time of print, they have completed 48 million kilometres without any RTA related Lost Time Injuries or fatalities and were working towards the ‘Road Safety Milestone of crossing 50 million Safely Driven kilometres.’ Yet another feather in their cap is that they have completed 10 million safe man hours on their EMC contract with PDO. A feat that only a few in the industry can boast of, this is a clear testimony of the company’s dedication towards a maintaining a healthy and safe work environment. Clearly, there is a lot to be done with it comes to HSE and in particular, road safety. Lawrence Alva, General Manager, National Training Institute, affirms that the oil and gas sector has been the drivers for change in Oman. However, today the other industries are slowly gearing up in this regard. “The awareness and 18 DOSSIER  October 2011

Lawrence Alva, General Manager, NTI

importance of safety that we see today has spilled over into different industries primarily because of organisations’ interactions with the oil and gas sector.” Lawrence also believes that there needs to be a shift in cultural attitudes and mindsets of individuals to bring about any tangible change. “Culturally, we aren’t geared to safety. The impetus has to come from the top management. Companies must have safety as one of their core values. If the top management is committed to that value, it will trickle down to mid and lower levels of management as well. Congruently, employees themselves should be aware of safe practices and be proactive. There needs to be a certain level

of consciousness among people to elicit this change in attitude which is directly related to education and awareness. So if we really want to achieve safety, be it at the work place or the roads it has to be driven from both ends of the spectrum.” The general consensus, it appears, is that a variety of factors are involved in the operation of road safety and measures to tackle RTAs are equally diverse. Efforts to identify the factors involved in road accidents and monitoring effectiveness of any countermeasures implemented, is the need of the hour. It remains to be seen, however, how industries rise up to the challenge and address road safety issues in the near future.

With Us, You are in the Safest Hands.



A range of products and safety innovations are being developed worldwide in order to reduce road accidents and create a more endurable driving experience. Here are a few noteworthy developments…


s the number of vehicles on the road increase, technology must adapt accordingly to manage and monitor seamless flow of traffic and minimise the occurrence of accidents. A significant reduction in highway fatalities will require new, emerging, and future technologies. Technology that monitor the performance of drivers, vehicles and roadways. In light of this, there has been an emergence of traffic management technologies across the globe – all with the sole aim of reducing congestion, speeding and accidents. Eye on the Road Distracted driving, be it because of phone calls or the state-of-theart audio-video systems loaded in automobiles today, is statistically speaking, one of the prime causes for road incidents. It is a serious and life-threatening practice and one that many often fail to acknowledge. Safe Driving Systems®, a US-based company, aims to ‘reduce and

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prevent driving distractions caused by mobile phone use’ and has come out with a pioneering concept called Ket2SafeDriving™. Key2SafeDriving™ is a new technology that aims to eliminate the usage of cell phones while driving, thus reducing chances of accidents related to distracted driving. It is an easy-to-install handset software which starts as soon as you start your car. The Key2SafeDriving™ automatically switches your phone to the Safe Driving Mode™ which disables its ability to send or received calls and text messages. Incoming calls go directly to voicemail and incoming text messages are sent an automated reply mentioning that the intended recipient is driving and will respond later. Emergency call functionality is always enabled, allowing the person to place emergency or other pre-determined phone calls. This innovative product is compatible with a range of mobile

October 2011  DOSSIER



phones like the BlackBerry and phones working on platforms like Windows and Symbian and is soon expected to be compatible across all other mobile phone platforms. Number plate recognition In the United Kingdom, Advanced Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras are set to replace conventional speed cameras. ANPR systems capture images and use optical character recognition to identify number plates, using six algorithms. The first, plate localisation, is responsible for finding and isolating the number plate, while the second (orientation and sizing), third (normalisation) and fourth (character segmentation) improves and renders the image to identify individual characters. The fifth algorithm, optical character recognition, identifies the specific characters, then the sixth, syntactical/ geometrical analysis, checks characters and positions against specific rules for the country of origin. When carried out at a lane site, algorithms can be processed and stored in just 250 milliseconds. The information is then converted into small data packets and transmitted to remote computers for further processing if necessary. According to the Finnish company, Mirasys – a leading provider of Video Management System (VMS) software for open platform IP and analogue camera surveillance solutions – Managing Director, Iain Cameron, “From a road safety perspective, the statistics tend to show that this system is more effective than regular speed cameras as it measures average speed over a set distance and time, rather than one particular measurement at a definite location. The speed cameras currently in use can be easily avoided by simply slowing down when they’re approached, with drivers speeding up again once they’ve been passed, which can pose its own road safety problems. They’re also easy to find 22 DOSSIER  October 2011

and are marked on a number of devices, such as satellite navigation systems. Average speed cameras bypass this.” IT has been widely deployed in the US and in various European countries such as Germany, although not without controversy. Since the scope of the cameras extend way beyond its regular speed-screening utility, questions have been raised about regulation, control and the likes. However, at this juncture, it appears that this ground-breaking technology is capable of doing more good than harm. Flexible Bollard System Bollard systems have breathed fresh life into traffic enforcement methods thanks to the flexibility and wide array of uses. Through the

access control systems.The LEDs can appear in a red or green colour to signal ‘stop’ or ‘go’ in the same fashion as a standard traffic light, and can also be configured to grant access through various means. Bollards may be used to identify users via their number plate before allowing or refusing access. The cameras can provide 98 per cent capture reliability to minimise cases of mistaken identity, while costs can be kept down by cutting out the costly exercise of producing a set number of access fobs and distributing them. Dynamic road marking Dynamic road marking technology aims to replicate white lines and adapt road layouts in response to changing traffic conditions.

Dynamic road marking technology aims to replicate white lines and adapt road layouts in response to changing traffic conditions use of innovative technology and hydraulics, automated bollards as a traffic calming solution have become more apparent in countries such as the United Kingdom. Bollards remain a secure, aesthetically pleasing yet highly visible means of controlling traffic, and by design can be used to manipulate traffic. Whether it is to ensure accessibility to certain areas/ streets, restrict speeds in residential areas or regulate traffic around pedestrian zones and bus gates, the ease of operation have driven the use of an increasing number of bollard-focussed traffic systems being installed. Also available, is a range of bollards fitted with LEDs which may be used as traffic lights as well as public

Although it is still primarily in the planning and evaluation stages, this technology has shown promise with increased road capacities and reduced congestion in peak hours in the trail runs. Pilots started off in Germany and Netherlands as far back as 1994. After many phases of testing and simulation, countries have recently started implementing this revolutionary, patented technology (as recent as 2010) in an attempt to combat traffic woes during peak hours. Potential applications include extension and utilisation of the hard shoulder during peak hours and the creation of dynamic junctions to highlight a path through a roundabout, increasing traffic flow.

Official Newspapers

2nd Traffic Safety Expo 2011

Ensuring Traffic Safety Importance The Royal Oman Police (ROP) is continuing its efforts to achieve and disseminate safety and security ON THE roads. In a way to achieve these aspirations, the SECOND Traffic Safety Exhibition and Conference 2011 will take place during 18-20 October 2011 at the Oman International Exhibition Centre

The Sultanate has been witnessing a high number of accidents over the years. We can reduce accidents only by spreading traffic awareness among people,” Colonel Dr Mohammed Awadh Al Rawas, Director-General of Traffic, Royal Oman Police, said in a recent press conference while announcing details of Traffic Safety Expo 2011. “Speeding and use of mobile phones while driving are the

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main causes of accidents. We need to create awareness and educate people about the dangers of using mobile phones while driving. The Sultanate is very concerned about road safety as there are many traffic studies and researches being conducted in an effort to reduce the number of accidents. We are confident of achieving the desired results in the next five years,” Al Rawas said. Al Rawas stated that the ROP has

been working closely with other departments and organisations to embark on innovative, feasible and effective road safety programmes to reduce road accidents. Ahmed Saleh Baabood, Executive Chairman of Oman International Trade and Exhibitions (OITE), said the expo organised for the second consecutive year aims to reduce road accidents and spread traffic

awareness in society. “The Second Traffic Safety Exhibition is yet another initiative by the Royal Oman Police to tackle the rising number of road accidents. The Royal Oman Police has been making action plans and is continuously making efforts to create a forward looking, positive approach to reduce accidents on our roads,” he said.

develop special educational programmes on safe behaviour on roads. Statistics of road accidents worldwide indicate that the rate of child injuries is around 20 per cent of injuries overall in the traffic accidents, while unfortunately around 180,500 children under the age of fifteen die annually in the road accidents worldwide.

Statistics issued by the Royal Oman Police with regards to last year’s road accidents gives a positive thrust to organise Traffic Safety Exhibition and Conference for the second year in a row. The statistics show a 7 per cent fall in casualties and 17 per cent reduction in injuries as compared to previous years. There is no doubt that this decline in human losses and injuries gives a great impetus to increase awareness on how to maintain traffic safety and contribute to reduce accidents and save hundreds of lives.

A dedicated corner for children will have mini cars for them to experience and get educated about traffic rules. There will be quizzes in various schools, including crossword quiz and a quiz on road safety rules. A special drawing event will also be organised for children and participants at the event.

This event embodies a large part of the campaign undertaken by the Royal Oman Police to promote safety precautions on the road and therefore encourage people to apply the important safety measures. Traffic Safety Exhibition will shed light on a wide range of safety products and equipments in vehicles. The exhibition provides a good opportunity for car agencies, car owners and traders, spare parts traders and others to showcase their products, ranging from air bags, car seats, seat belts, tires and other supplies. Car manufacturers and government officials will provide the best deals they have in the field of vehicle trade. The event this year will introduce the ‘Innovations Zone’ programme, which will allow exhibitors to introduce and launch new products and services to the visitors. The event aims to formulate a strategy to bring up traffic awareness for children and youth, and to

The Traffic Safety Conference, held alongside the exhibition, will bring together government representatives; experts from state committees and agencies of the road construction sector; managers of road, motorway and bridge construction companies; specialists of tunnel drilling companies; specialists of state run public transport; private operators of city taxis and public transport; specialists of road and motorway maintenance companies; distributors and manufacturers of roadside furniture; architects, specialists of municipal services companies; specialists of consulting companies; specialists of logistics companies; managers of construction companies; representatives of road construction equipment manufacturers; representatives of state road safety organisations, and others. The exhibition is a step towards activating enhanced awareness campaigns on traffic accidents, monitoring local issues of traffic safety, coordinating efforts to address traffic problems, highlighting importance of working together towards achieving ‘zero’ fatality rate on roads in Oman, and ensure that road traffic crashes are reduced to the barest minimum, if not eliminated.

Intelligent car safety systems to be introduced The Traffic Safety Expo will introduce intelligent vehicle-safety systems, which have the potential to make roads much safer, according to international studies. The studies state that if this system alone were fitted to all the vehicles in Europe it would reduce the number of people killed on the roads there by almost 17 per cent. Experts acknowledge that the intelligent vehicle-safety systems are designed to prevent a driver straying from a motorway lane and would warn drivers about speed limits and other hazards, which would eventually cut the number of fatalities. The Expo will display communication devices including automated voice answering systems, GPS modules and devices, intercoms, magnetic receivers, phone switchboards, radar systems and products, navigational instruments, optical interconnects, specialty communication devices, telephone components and accessories and much more. With a call to quit dangerous road habits, the Government of Oman has increased its budgetary allocation for safe & secured driving measures as well as developed road infrastructure & public transport. The exhibition will also provide a good opportunity for car agencies, car owners and traders, spare parts traders and others to showcase their products, ranging from air bags, car seats, seat belts, tires and other supplies.

The second Traffic Safety Exhibition and Conference 2011 will take place during 18-20 October 2011 at the Oman International Exhibition Centre, under the patronage of ROP. The event will be organised by Oman International Trade & Exhibitions (OITE). October 2011  DOSSIER



Global Hospitality

Food & Hotel Oman 2011, hosted by Omanexpo, is the largest and only international event in Oman for the food and hospitality sector


he Food & Hotel Oman exhibition is set to be held from December 5 to 7 at the Oman International Exhibition Centre. In a press conference at City Seasons recently, organiser Omanexpo addressed the media. In the panel was Ms Rayya Al Habsi, Paramount Middle East, one of the leading brands in manufacturing, trading, and maintenance of kitchen, bakery, supermarket, and laundry equipment in the Middle East and Food & Hotel Oman 2011’s platinum sponsor. Also in the panel was Chef Issa Al Lamki of Oman Chef’s Guild. The event this year will see the launch of two new features: another high-profile two-day educational conference concurrent with the exhibition, tackling current relevant trends and issues in the food

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and hotel sectors; and a mocktail competition, which is guaranteed to add fun and entertainment to the show. The addition of a Conference is, once again, aligned with Omanexpo’s objectives of providing an instructive dimension to its trade shows. The much-awaited worldclass Chef Competition, which will feature chefs from the top hotels in Oman is yet another highlight. “We are expecting over 250 companies to participate in this year’s show. As in 2009, we have enlisted the support of Oman Chef’s Guild for the Chef Competition. We have also obtained the support of Oman Tourism College in order to promote and cultivate the talent of today’s youth and help increase awareness of their importance in the shaping of Oman’s tourism industry,” Omanexpo’s general manager Nasser

Diab said. He added that this year, there will be a strong representation from international companies with the presence of the national pavilions of Italy, Singapore, India, Thailand, Malaysia, China and the UAE. Food & Hotel Oman was first launched in 2005 as Food Expo and was certified by UFI-The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry in 2010. Food & Hotel Oman 2011 is supported by the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Oman Chefs Guild, Oman Tourism College, Paramount Middle East, Agility, 3M, City Seasons Hotel, and KIMS Oman Hospital.

For stand bookings and registration call the Omanexpo head office at 24660124 e-mail:



“Dhofar Municipality, in coordination with the competent authorities, is evaluating and implementing ways to provide appropriate visibility for road users, and preparing road designs in line with road design guide to reduce road accidents caused by human mistakes,” says His Excellency Sheikh Salim bin Aufait Al Shanfari, Chairman, Dhofar Municipality


ver the past years, Dhofar Municipality has performed tremendous efforts and effective measures to enhance traffic safety culture in Dhofar Governorate. Through these efforts, the Municipality is confirming that the roles played by municipalities are not limited to beautification, landscaping and lighting only, but also it plays a vital role in reducing traffic jams in addition to implementing major projects aimed at achieving traffic safety in Dhofar. His Excellency Sheikh Salim bin Aufait Al Shanfari, Chairman of Dhofar Municipality, has affirmed that the Dhofar Municipality has taken practical measures in 2010 to reduce road accidents in the governorate. Al Shanfari informed that the Municipality has solved the sites where there were recurrence of road accidents through effective and innovative solutions. “Speed breakers have been implemented on the various roads and residential areas. Besides, road signs were

implemented and maintained with the intention to control and organise the traffic movement. Lighting was also implemented in most of the main and internal road network in order to provide an appropriate vision for road users,” Al Shanfari said. He also added that the Municipality has made significant efforts to develop and intensify traffic awareness in modern and effective ways through publishing awareness brochures describing the causes and risks caused by road accidents, which were distributed to school students and community members. Awareness lectures on traffic safety were also delivered in a number of schools in the governorate as well as live interviews were conducted on radio shows. “Based on the membership of Dhofar Municipality in the National Committee for Road Safety, the Municipality has sought to carry out awareness programmes aimed at reducing traffic accidents and

...The future plans of the National Committee for Road Safety endeavour to reduce traffic accidents in Oman 28 DOSSIER  October 2011

raising awareness among the society members. Besides, a number of seminars and lectures on the roles played by the National Committee for Road Safety were held in Dhofar, which have contributed in providing data and statistics related to road safety to the public.” Al Shanfari stressed that the main task of the committee is to develop a unified and comprehensive strategy to reduce traffic safety accidents and address their serious impact. “The committee conducts thorough studies on traffic accidents to determine their causes and identify their social and economic effects for the Omani society. It also evaluates the traffic awareness programmes and plans, and measures to improve engineering and environmental factors for the purpose of achieving road safety.” He also informed that the future plans of the National Committee for Road Safety endeavour to reduce traffic accidents in Oman, develop a national strategic plan for traffic safety including the participation of competent authorities in an attempt to unify efforts done in the field. He affirmed that the Committee looks forward for the concerned authorities to review and assess the regulations of the speed limits on main roads, districts, residential and commercial areas in order to minimise road accidents.


WHEN NUMBERS SPEAK According to the Commander of Muscat Governorate Police, “Total road accidents in Muscat Governorate in 2010 touched 3246 accidents.”


oad accidents during the first half for the year 20102011 have increased at a rate of 230 accidents in Muscat Governorate, informed the Commander of Muscat Governorate Police, Brigadier Jamal bin Naseeb Al Shanfari. “The reasons for this steady increase is due to the increase of vehicle numbers, drivers as well as lengths of some roads,” Al Shanfari noted in a tête-à-tête highlighting the percentage of road accidents during this year and last year in Muscat Governorate, and the measures taken by Muscat Governorate Police to reduce road accidents.

Through the annual statistics for all the road accidents that occurred in Muscat Governorate, the numbers indicate an increase of 230 road accidents during the first half of 2011 compared to the first half of 2010. In fact, the reasons for this steady increase is due to the increase in number of vehicles, drivers and lengths of some roads. What are the main causes of traffic accidents happening in Muscat Governorate? Excessive speed is the main reason for the major accidents that occur in Muscat Governorate. Most of these accidents occur in the roads linking

...Numbers indicate an increase of 230 road accidents during the first half of 2011 compared to the first half of 2010 What is the ratio of traffic accidents that occurred in the Muscat Governorate in the past year? The total traffic accidents in 2010 has touched 3246 accident in Muscat Governorate. How do you compare the percentage of traffic accidents that occurred in Muscat Governorate in the first half of this year and during the first half of last year?

various wilayats, which currently have a modern road network. With the recent significant road development happening in the various governorates and regions of the Sultanate, how do you find that this development has contributed to the reduction of traffic congestion and accidents in Muscat Governorate? The modern road network

contributed significantly to the smooth flow of traffic jams in Muscat Governorate, which also contributes towards increasing the economic and social activities in the city. What are the new measures taken by Muscat Governorate Police to reduce traffic accidents? Are there any plans to increase police patrols throughout the city? Muscat Governorate Police will not spare any effort that would contribute in reducing traffic accidents. The police has also taken the necessary action to enhance the presence of traffic patrols on the main and internal roads. How would you describe the importance of holding Traffic Safety Expo for the second year in a row? Do you think there is any positive effects after holding last year’s Traffic Safety Expo? Yes, the exhibition, like any other traffic related events, has contributed to create an awareness on traffic safety and eventually reduce road accidents. What are your expectations of the outcome of the Second Traffic Safety Expo 2011? We expect the event to attract a bigger turnout this year than last year’s event, as the community is getting much involved these days in identifying the updates happening in the traffic safety field. October 2011  DOSSIER




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Safety First Safety Technical Services Company Ltd offers a diverse range of safety and training courses and has become the preferred safety provision company for many organisations throughout the Middle East and beyond


lthough an independent body, Safety Technical Services Company LLC (STS) was formed with the merger of Safety Marine Services, United Arab Emirates and Safety Audit Services, United Kingdom in 1993. The group of companies provide a wide range of training courses in many fields, such as HSE, Driving, Lifting operations, Scaffolding, Security and many more. Safety Technical Services also manufactures,

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supplies, tests and certifies fire fighting equipment, lifting and rigging equipment, wire ropes, slings, and accessories. All the instructors, engineers and personnel have many years of experience in this field, and are renowned not only for their courteous and friendly service but also their continued reliability. Their expertise is also expressed via services such as on-site inspection and certification that keeps clients operating safely and effectively to the highest of standards.

Driver Training Division STS’ instructors and training personnel are amongst the most experienced and qualified in the Middle East and their programmes were the first to be accredited in the Middle East by the International Association for Driver Education (IVV) based in London. STS has played a major role in implementing a strong health and safety culture across all industries and their courses delivered to a wide and varied range of companies including oilfield,

construction, educational, banking, leisure as well as government departments. The high standards of all courses are sustained through a robust policy of continuing professional development for their advisers, an effective quality monitoring programme and independent periodic auditing by an international organisation for road safety. All of their road safety advisers hold the Diamond Advanced Driving Certificate, Safe Drive International (SDI) advanced driver trainer and assessor, plus internationally recognised train the trainer qualifications. This is in addition to the wealth of experience each adviser has in the field of defensive driving techniques. This year STS is pleased to announce that they will be offering free Defensive Driving Courses, in association with OPAL. The Importance of Defensive Driving Chances are, if you drive a car, you think that you are good enough to not need defensive driving classes. In fact, you may even arrogantly believe that you are in control of your car at all times. That said, the CD player or radio is still on, the cold Mountain Dew tastes great, and you just can’t stand to miss your friend’s phone call, or another cigarette. Each and every prop puts you into a false sense of safety, and drives you to forget the laws of physics and bodies in motion. The result of that outlook is over 22 million people are injured for life each year, and over 50,000 die in automobile collisions. More than likely, every driver in those cars had the exact same optimistic opinion of their driving skills and attention span. Every day people die or become injured for life in automobile collisions. While many grieve, few people realise that a fraction of a single second could have entirely

prevented the collision from happening. Defensive driving courses can teach you to have the patience and moral character necessary to buy that one single second for yourself and everyone around you. Along with teaching you how to eliminate distractions, defensive driving courses will also teach you some basic road etiquette, as well as how to spot, and stay away from dangerous situations. Defensive Drivers versus Dangerous Drivers Most of us would like to believe that we are good or above average drivers, those misplaced souls that we see every day moving from lane to lane

of simply reacting to them, they know how to steer the car out of hazards while maintaining control and what to do in situations such as skidding or avoiding road debris. Defensive Driving is “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others with the aim of reducing accidents by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others. I wonder if those reckless drivers ever stop to think that one of the reasons why they don’t have an accident is because the drivers around them are driving defensively.

This year STS is pleased to announce that they will be offering free Defensive Driving Courses, in association with OPAL and weaving in and out of traffic at high speed, we think “an accident waiting to happen” unfortunately those reckless drivers believe that they are superior drivers on a par with “Vettel” and “Hamilton” and are confident that they can demonstrate mastery of the rules of the road and the mechanics of driving. The truth is the majority of drivers on the road never get past the basics.

Taking a defensive driving course does not automatically exempt you from having a collision. That said, it can help you prevent quite a few of them, or even turn what would have been a fatality into nothing more than a minor scrape. You will learn about how to spot developing situations in the traffic around you, and how to make sure you don’t create, or get involved in them.

A philosophy called defensive driving is the basis for a more advanced course in driver and passenger safety. The practice of driving defensively is not new to Oman it has been practiced for many years and those drivers who have attended a Defensive Driving course understand their vehicle’s limitations and abilities, they adopt a more proactive attitude behind the wheel, anticipating potential hazards instead

The staff at STS would be more than glad to offer further information to assist and guide you through our Defensive Driving Training programmes.

Contact Tel: 24494206, 24493720 e-mail: Website: October 2011  DOSSIER



Taageer Finance Company SAOG


Mohammed Abdullah Al-Kharusi, CEO, Taageer Finance Company SAOG, gives insights on the company’s success so far Kindly give a little history of Taageer Finance and its mission and vision. Taageer Finance Company is one of the leading Non-Banking Financing Companies in Oman under license from the Central Bank of Oman to conduct financial activities in both retail and corporate segment. Our Mission: Invest time, expertise and capital to satisfy the financial needs of individuals and corporate by providing exceptional services and optimum financial solutions. Our Vision: Be a financial partner who thoroughly understands and responds to the changing needs of the market. Customer satisfaction is our vision and customer’s confidence is our pride. Overview of current operations (asset base) and products & services. The company has an asset base of USD 200 million at the end of 2010. Taageer caters to the ever increasing needs of the business segment / consumers thereby playing an active role in contributing to the socio-economic development of the Sultanate of Oman by offering the following products: • “  Al Amthal” Auto Finance for passenger cars, commercial vehicles • I ndustrial Equipment, Plant & Machinery, Heavy Equipment • W  orking Capital Finance through Debt Factoring / Bill Discounting of receivables Mohammed Abdullah Al-Kharusi, CEO

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• ‘Al Hal’ Personal Loans for

financing of home appliances, furniture, computers and other electronic items. • ‘Al Tayeb’ Structured Finance. • ‘Al Sahal’ Insurance • Corporate Deposits What would you say have been the reasons for Taageer’s prolific growth till date? Taageer has strong credit policies, supportive Board, excellent IT system, branch network, talented workforce and strong CBO policies. What has been your growth strategy the past few years and what will it be for the forthcoming year?

outlay of where we want to be in the market in the next five years. Currently our market share is 16 per cent, but over the next three years, we want to bring this up to at least 20 per cent. Our recent rights issue which closed on May 15, 2011 was very successful. We managed to garner RO 4mn and our new capital stands at RO16.67mn. We hope expect to reach RO 20mn by June 2012. Recently, the Central Bank has requested leasing companies to increase their capital to RO25mn and we will incorporate this into our growth plan. The way forward to stand out in the industry is only through innovation and this doesn’t just pertain to focusing on the SMEs and corporate finance. The company is also looking to innovate in the field of IT and is trying reducing

We have decided on a five year strategic plan which gives us an outlay of where we want to be in the market in the next five years The road to success for any nonbanking finance company has not been an easy one in Oman, but Taageer has taken these challenges in its stride and is constantly looking to overcome the hurdles with innovation. Competition is still with companies in the market always engaged in a pricing war and when it comes to funding, the interest rate risk due to increase in rates by the banks always remains. The other challenge is to continue giving good dividend return on the new capital. . We have decided on a five year strategic plan which gives us an

its cost of operation with plans to roll out e-services for its clients. Curtailing growth in non-performing assets is another main area of focus for the company. Has the global recession affected growth in anyway? Hallmark of Taageer’s performance is delivery of consistent results and the Company during the year 2009 has achieved the same. The PAT was in line with the business volumes. Year 2009 was a testing year for Taageer as it would like to review the impact, if any, of the global financial crisis on its portfolio.

Though, it has affected to some extent in terms of market share, the company has performed well in terms of cost control, NPA and Treasury Management. How has the average spender’s financial mindset changed over the past few years and how have you aligned your products and services in lieu of this? We have been very innovative in supporting the financial needs of retail customers. In addition to the vehicle financing which is one of the major needs under retail, we have also launched the products under personal financing etc., to support the requirements of the retail customers. Recently, we have tied up with Bank Muscat to facilitate direct EMI debit from customer’s savings/current account. Will you be including new offerings in NEXT year? The company plans to bring out products for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and corporate financing, and is planning to expand its reach to other areas. We have segregated between retail and corporate for the SME products, and have given more focus to our corporate department for funding SMEs and to meet their queries. What plans for the future? With a buoyant outlook for profit growth and robust business on the back of the increase in infrastructure projects in Oman, and the new job creations that will in turn improve consumer spend levels; Taageer is confident that this notable pathway to achieve success will create lending opportunities.

Contact Tel: 24839800 Website:

October 2011  DOSSIER




Leading Safety and Setting Standards

OPAL provides a single, unified source to promote standards of work competence and professionalism in the Omani petroleum industry

OPAL - Oman society for Petroleum Services is the first Society in Oman’s Petroleum Industry to be officially approved and registered in the Sultanate of Oman, on the 27th October 2001 under the regulations governing the formation of societies with the Ministry of Social Development. OPAL started as a concept in 1998, where by like-minded companies embarked on a vision to promote the industry standards and create level playing field. OPAL’s vision is “To have, in Oman, an acknowledged world class oil and gas industry which operates to the highest standards with no harm to people, environment or assets.” It provides a unified voice 38 DOSSIER  October 2011

for over three hundred members representing all the key players in Oil and Gas as well as those who support and service the industry. OPAL’s original emphasis was on training, in particular Omanis, but it’s remit has expanded to include a major emphasis on agreeing and disseminating minimum standards of HR and HSE across the industry. Through the members forums and committees, OPAL has been looking at the issues and variety of subjects of interests to OPAL members particularly in HR and HSE areas such as road safety, fatigue management, minimum wages, employee relations, and etc, these kind of issues are

raised, discussed, and when actions are agreed they will be immediately applied and take effect. In HSE, there have been great strides over the years, in particular, the road safety. While road accidents remains the highest in Oman generally, but road accidents and incidents in the oil and gas industry have dramatically reduced because of the consensus building in this area which as a result the “Upstream Operators Road Safety Standards Manual” which came out in 2009 and now represents an agreed industry view on all aspects of road safety. As part of its responsibility towards the community, OPAL has put great efforts to further enhance

the awareness of the local community people in road safety, recently it has managed to collect a substantial number of free defensive driving courses from its training members (Occupational Training Institute (OTI), National Training Institute LLC (NTI), Technical & Administrative Training Institute (TATI), Safety Technical Services (STS) that will be raffled off on a daily basis at the ROP Road Safety Expo on 18, 19, 20th October. OPAL is also intending to support training teachers in defensive driving from various schools across Muscat, this has been from one of OPAL generous member donations. As mentioned these will be defensive driving course in order for the teachers to reeducate their students. One of the potential projects that OPAL will contribute in the next months is supporting to build a road safety school for children in Quriyat in association with the office of Wali Quriyat. To enhance the professionalism in the industry, OPAL has initiated a training programme for HSE practitioners well known as HSE-CP, the programme aims at increasing the competency level of the HSE practitioners in order for them to be able to deal competently with the increasing demand of all aspects of successful safety management, so far 2 HSE-CP courses has been executed during 2011. In 2009, OPAL leadership team has decided to seek ISO certification in an effort to share commitment to quality, health, safety, and environment. The reason is, as a certification body without having a recognised structured system in place would not be in a position to challenge and request the members to meet certain standards. In 2010, OPAL has been awarded three ISO certificates (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001). That at least enables OPAL to provide commitment and transparency in its efforts to support OPAL members

OPAL has several standards and certifications (CVC, HSE-MS, CA&A, and OCC) which enable the companies to benchmark their activities. The certification will help them to structure their business properly, and companies will be able to clearly identify the regulatory and statutory requirements. OPAL certification is a mandatory requirement for contracting with the major oil and gas operators. As a sole collective representative of Oil and Gas industry, OPAL works

very closely with the Ministries in a number of areas. First it provides input from its members to upcoming legislation. Secondly it helps interpret laws in the industry context and thirdly it disseminates interpretations of the law where the Ministry has agreed that interpretation.

Contact Tel: 24605700 e-mail:

October 2011  DOSSIER



Saud Bahwan Group

Together for a Safer Life

One of the largest and most successful business conglomerates in the region, Saud Bahwan Group has established its presence in many fields. Toyota and Continental are two brands among their diverse offerings

Toyota & You: Together for a Safer Life Toyota has pioneered many firsts in ensuring the highest safety of its vehicles. The group invests one million dollars every hour to ‘improve our technology and your safety.’ As per an official spokesperson, “The $1,000,000 an hour, represents all Toyota R&D spending globally, much of that allocated to new quality and safety technologies. Indeed, every component in a Toyota is designed with safety in mind, including steering, brakes, seats, ergonomics, weight, even where the music system is placed. Passive and active safety components are integrated throughout our vehicles most of which are invisible to the driver.” Toyota’s recent Research & Development investments include 725.3 billion yen, or approximately $8.9 billion, in fiscal year 2010 on technology and safety development. Some of the cutting edge safety technology available in Toyota vehicles includes: Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, Crawl Control, Multi-terrain ABS, Radar Cruise Control, Pre-crash Safety System. Toyota vehicles also comes with many other futuristic safety features including the Drowsy Driver Warning System, SOS Vehicle Stop System, Advanced Airbag System amongst many more to come, in the near future. In the Sultanate, Toyota is one of the most admired and coveted brands, commanding the highest level of customer loyalty. On one hand, Toyota offers genuine quality, dependability and reliability, on the other; nothing comes close to Toyota in terms of value for money and range. Toyota’s on-going investments for the benefit of the Omani customer include: •  A  landmark Toyota showroom in Muscat spread over 8000 sq.m.

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•  T  he world’s largest Toyota service facility at Muscat with 883 bays •  A  world-class Parts Distribution Centre spread over 61,000 sq.m. •  A  450,000 sq. m. Vehicle Distribution Centre stocking over 16,500 units •  O  utstanding Customer Care initiatives •  A  network of integrated facilities across the nation •  A  vast range covering Passenger Cars, 4WD Vehicles, sporty SUVs and Commercial Vehicles •  S  tate-of-the-art showrooms that offer ultra-modern conveniences & facilities and innovative customer care initiatives combine to provide a whole new customer experience Each and every Toyota in Oman is supported by Saud Bahwan Group’s unmatched nationwide support network. On the one hand, Toyota offers genuine quality, dependability and reliability. On the other hand, nothing comes close to Toyota in terms of value for money and range. Add to it the 6-years unlimited Mileage protection plan, a nationwide Sales, Service & Parts network and tons of others after care offerings, and it’s easy to see why Toyota soars so far above the rest. Toyota Service – The One to Trust Saud Bahwan Group (SBG) is the pioneer of many ‘Customer First’ initiatives in marketing and after-sales support services. Toyota Service is in the forefront of enhancing customer trust and delight in every interaction through innovative and customerfocused services and products.

play area, and a whole host of other facilities. The facility houses four level workshops with 883 service bays, a high tech diagnostic centre, and eight express-maintenance drivethrough stalls. A reflection of ‘Customer Satisfaction’ as Group’s number one philosophy is seen in expansion and upgrade of many service facilities across Oman to provide quality service 24x7 – all 365 days. The newly opened Mega body shop at Ghala is another one of the largest accident and body repair facilities in the world spread over 36,000 square metres and with 670 bays. Facilities at Liwa, Bidiya, Sumail, Suwaiq, Gabbi, Ghala Mechanical workshop, Salalah, etc., further reinforce this network. All this has led to the creation of the largest after-sales support network with a full-fledged Toyota Service facility within

a 50-km radius for any customer in Oman. SBG offers ‘Express Maintenance’ a unique solution to customers’ need for service-quality, time, cost and peace of mind. EM is a high-quality, quickmaintenance service product with broad customer appeal and developed by Toyota Motors Corporation based on the famous Toyota Production System concept. Toyota also offers a six years unlimited mileage protection scheme ‘Mazallat Bahwan’ to ensure a seamless motoring experience for customers. ‘Toyota Thiqah’ Loyalty programme is a unique scheme to reward customers for their service visits and provides the opportunity to have special savings every time customers service or repair their vehicles or buy parts at any Saud Bahwan facility. Toyota Tamin, a Motor Insurance scheme is the latest addition from

The Toyota Service facility at Wattayah is the largest in the world is truly a one of its kind 24-hour facility, spread over 30,000 square metres of workshop area, airconditioned receiving area, luxurious customer lounge, exclusive ladies lounge, a cosy cafeteria, children’s October 2011  DOSSIER



and be durable. Above all, for vehicles to remain safely and securely on the road, tires need to be able to cope with the forces exerted on them – when braking, accelerating or cornering. This is particularly important when the road is wet and slippery. So, with your safety in mind, here are some tips and advice to help you to take proper care of your tires.

Toyota. Toyota Tamin ensures dealer repairs without depreciation for all Toyota vehicles up to five years old and a host of other benefits which include UAE cover and a free AAA card for roadside assistance. Toyota Genuine Parts – Ensuring Safety on the Road The real test of quality goes beyond offering an extraordinary product. It lies in the ability to consistently deliver excellent aftersales support. SBG’s deep-rooted belief in this philosophy is reflected in the remarkable over 98 per cent availability of spare parts, virtually at the customers’ doorstep. Latest computer and communication technology with custom-built software, electronic catalogues, extensive networks and satellite links to Principals ensures global standards and outstanding service for customers, while maintaining lean and highly efficient operations. Toyota Motor Corporation has showered acclaim for SBG’s outstanding performance year after the year. For five consecutive years, SBG has been honoured with the highly coveted ‘Outstanding Customer Service Award’ given to only 3 to 5 of the top Toyota distributors around the world. Toyota also rates SBG’s parts logistics to be among the world’s best 5 and has honoured it with the ‘Distributor of the Year’ award for a record breaking six years. These awards spur each team member towards achieving even higher standards of excellence, in everything they do. However, at the end of the day, the beaming face of a contented customer is the greatest reward for SBG. Continental Tyres: Safety you can trust With 140 years of German engineering, Continental is the European market leader for passenger and light truck tyres and a leading supplier to tuning vehicles in Europe. 42 DOSSIER  October 2011

The rubber group which incorporates the tyre division produces highquality premium tyres for passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles. Founded in Hanover, Germany in 1871, Continental today is one among the top five automotive suppliers in the world with sales of €26 billion (OMR 14.164 billion) in 2010. Continental’s automotive group is a leading supplier of brake systems; systems and components for powertrains and chassis; instrumentation and infotainment solutions; vehicle electronics and technical elastomers to the world class automobiles. The most important part of your car is not the engine. Car tires are often seen as a more or less inconsequential part of the vehicle. This could not be further from the truth. Tires are the only contact the vehicle has with the road. Continental promotes enhanced driving safety, short braking distance and comfort. Discover what tires really are – a crucial, highquality, expertly-engineered chassis component specially tailored to modern, high-speed cars. Not only do they have to match a variety of different suspension systems and respond accurately to steering commands, they need to roll smoothly

Avoid tire damage – If you have to drive over an obstacle, approach it slowly – as close to the perpendicular as possible. Check your tires regularly for exterior damage such as cuts, cracks or bulges. Do not overstress your tires - Avoid overloading your vehicle. If you intend to drive under full-load/high-speed conditions, adjust your tire pressures according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Check your tire pressure regularly – Check your tire pressure every two weeks and adjust as necessary. Remember, only check your tires when they are cold, not when they are still warm from driving. Also, do not forget to check your spare or emergency/temporary spare tire, since you never know when you may need it. Please refer to the vehicle manufacturer’s supplementary information regarding emergency/ temporary spare tires. Keep an eye on your tread depth – Since worn tires greatly increase the risk of braking performance, we strongly urge drivers to change their tires before they reach the minimum legal tread depth. A good rule of thumb to follow: change summer tires when they have 3 mm of remaining tread. The Conti range of world class tyres are marketed in Oman by Arabian Engineering Services, a part of the reputed Saud Bahwan Group

Contact Tel: 24578000 e-mail:



On the Fast Track

Bank Sohar, now in the fifth year of its operations, has become one of the top banks in Oman and the Bank’s name has become a household word Growth Several factors have contributed to the growth of Bank Sohar. The Bank achieved a net profit of RO8.022 million in December 2009. In 2010, the Bank improved on this performance with a net profit of RO10.220 million. For the six month period which ended June 2011, the Bank has achieved a net profit of RO6.93 million, a growth of 14.8 per cent over the corresponding period in 2010. The Bank’s branch network has kept pace with the growth. From a handful of branches in the first year, the Bank today has 25 branches spread all over Oman. Bank Soar’s branches, ATMs and e-channels operate on state-of-the technology environment. The Central Operations and Core Banking systems ensure that customers enjoy 24/7 access to their accounts through a choice of touch points. Products and Services In 2007 Bank Sohar launched the Al Mumayaz Accounts and through it gave customers access to the entire range of the Bank’s products. The Al Mumayaz Saving Scheme has brought the Bank into the limelight. Under the Al Mumayaz Saving Scheme 2011, customers enjoy daily prizes and now await the jackpot of RO600,000 in December. The Bank offers customers a choice of their Excel Credit Cards – Classic, Gold and Platinum. The cards are perfect lifestyle accessories and come with low introductory rates of interest.  The iExcel Internet credit card was added to the range to enable customers to make safe on-line purchases. The Bank has

44 DOSSIER  October 2011

Dr Mohamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor, CEO, Bank Sohar

introduced Cash Deposit Machines and customers enjoy free-of-charge access to over 650 ATMs on the OmanNet platform. Human Resources In June 2011, the Bank’s staff strength stood at 539 and the Omanisation ratio at 88.9 per cent.Bank Sohar is committed to provide opportunities for Omani talent and to achieve Omanisation across all levels. Bank Sohar and the Community The Bank has reached out to people with its Corporate Social Responsibility Programme and in a short time has spread cheer in the community. The Bank has been

able to extend support to several NGOs and charitable organisations dedicated to the care of citizens with special needs. The areas of focus remain health, education, community welfare, employment, safety and the environment. The Bank also supports national programmes that invite cooperation from the private sector like the Muscat Festival and Salalah Festival and community programmes in the wilayats that focus on education and entertainment.

Contact Tel: 24730273 Website:

Dossier - October 2011