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Building Sustainable Transport Solutions for a Green Economy

By HE Khaled Al Huraimel / Group CEO, Bee’ah 25/02/2019

In the UAE’s Greenhouse Gas inventory, the Ministry of Energy recognized transportation as the 2nd largest contributor to the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for over 22% of total emissions in 2013. Of global greenhouse emissions, 26% is constituted by transportation, with almost 90% of vehicles relying on oil to run. As the UAE makes the shift to a green economy, it becomes imperative for us to address the challenges of this sector, and the opportunities it presents in green alternatives.
 
The UAE is one of the largest automotive markets in the Middle East, second only to Saudi Arabia. Given the pace of economic development in the country, accelerated infrastructure development, and evolving trends in the logistics industry, these numbers are set to rise. According to TechSci Research’s report, “UAE Commercial Vehicles Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2021”, the UAE’s commercial vehicle market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 7%, between 2016 and 2021.

As a pioneer for sustainable quality of life, Bee’ah was inclined to address the environmental impact of this sector, and the threat it poses to the quality of air in the UAE. Apart from being an active proponent for a green economy, our unique position as one of few companies to deploy an Air Quality Monitoring Network in the UAE, has alerted us to the environmental and health implications of transport development.

Starting the movement for change from within the organization, we implemented an advanced fleet management system, and began an active transition to eco-friendly vehicles. Through route optimization, RFID tagging of bins, and monitoring of real-time data, we have significantly reduced our carbon footprint.

However, to support the UAE’s vision for a green economy, sustainable mobility must become the norm and not the exception. To facilitate this widespread adoption, we partnered with Crescent Enterprises to launch a sustainable mobility venture, ION, in 2018.

ION is pioneering accessible and sustainable transport solutions, with the aim of creating a zero-emissions transport infrastructure in the MENA region and beyond. From electric bikes to buses, trucks, and even charging stations, we are transforming multi-modal, inter-urban, transport networks across the Middle East. To serve individual commuters, ION has deployed Tesla cars through popular ride-hailing platform, Careem.
 
We have also been supporting entities in reducing their environmental impact, serving as the official transport partner for events such as the Sharjah FDI Forum and the World Future Energy Summit.

Through ION, we have set a precedent for private sector participation in the sustainability drive, and there are possibilities for so much more. With the UAE’s mindset of exploration and pioneering for sustainable living, this is the ideal market for the future of mobility. Clean technologies can not only protect the environment, but also create jobs and trigger economic growth.

Leveraging industry knowledge, we can establish a framework for sustainable transport and implement carbon-neutral transport solutions, of measurable impact for businesses and governments. As the UAE aims to reduce 15% of carbon emissions by 2020, sustainable transportation will shape this low-carbon economy of the future, putting sustainability at the heart of our economic leadership.

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