(MENAFN - Arab News) Mohamed Yousuf Naghi & Brothers Group was honored yesterday evening at the opening of the first international conference on school transport attended by Minister of Education Prince Faisal bin Abdullah at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center. Hafel, a subsidiary company of the group, is the main sponsor of the event as well as the government's schools transport.
Some 25 experts from 12 countries will be addressing the conference, held under the aegis of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, in addition to representatives of Saudi government departments and local and international universities and organizations.
In his opening remark, Prince Faisal said: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is part of the world that works hard to move toward a knowledge-based economy and makes investment in building its people. As such, the government gives priority to education and its logistical support."
The minister pointed out that the strategic plan for the economy, society, and security prompted them to make use of public transportation for girl students managed by the private sector. "As such, the Council of Ministers has issued a decree to expand its school transportation project that will also encourage the use of public transportation," Prince Faisal added.
Deputy Minister of Education for Girls Nura Al-Faiz said the conference came at a time when the government was working to provide good transportation facilities for children within the framework of the plan for introducing public transportation as part of the national effort to that end.
She said it is the right of our children to have a decent and comfortable means of transportation. It is not enough to give only educational services; we also have to provide them other means of services that help them achieve their objectives. As such, the government sees the importance of the private sector's involvement in the project.
Mohamed Yousuf Naghi said his company had a humble beginning over 100 years ago, when late Mohamed Abdulwahab Naghi laid its foundation at Al-Balad market in the heart of Jeddah. "It has continued its path of success, which we see today at Mohamed Yousuf Naghi & Brothers Group. This has been achieved through years of work and continuous effort, and the deep belief in our five principles: responsibility, humility, integrity, transparency and sustainability."
Naghi said Mohamed Yousuf Naghi & Brothers Group expanded to include more than 15,000 employees working across the Kingdom and within diversified business sectors at the group, which include automotive, FMCGs, restaurants and catering, household appliances and electronics, pharmaceutical and medical equipment, insurance, finance, transportation and logistical support services.
"We look forward to a promising future for the coming generations and to become the most desired company to work for by creating the best workplace environment and providing career progression opportunities through continuous on-the-job training, learning and development across all lines of business at the group. We have progressed in attracting local manpower and achieved high levels through the Nitaqat program, which positioned the group as a strategic partner of the Ministry of Labor that aims to recruit local work force and provide them with a prosperous future.
Elaborating more on Hafel Transport Company as the main sponsor, Naghi said: "We are keen to take part in all government activities that serve our people," pointing out that Hafel, which was founded in 1999, now provides 75 percent of the Al-Ameen school transport project for transporting women students.
According to him, Hafel transports over 500,000 women students daily to and from schools. The company is responsible for transporting 34 percent of Haj pilgrims and 25 percent of Umrah visitors annually.
Hafel also works jointly with leading international and regional transport companies for the exchange of experience and knowledge in the transport industry in the Kingdom. These partnerships include companies such as Emirates Transport, National Express and Serco Group.
"Hafel uses the AVL vehicle tracking systems, which determines the path of the buses to monitor and direct vehicles via operation rooms equipped with the latest GPS technology," he concluded.
In her presentation on the integrated system for safe transportation of children to school, Anna Anund, a researcher at the National Road and Transportation Research Institute (VIT) in Sweden, said that between 1994 and 2001, 361 children were injured or killed during transportation to and from their school in Sweden, whereas 97 were killed in Italy in 2005, and 455 were killed or injured in Austria only in 2007. Different as the above numbers may be, they all tell one thing: Crashes involving school buses and children traveling from and to school are far from negligible and require efforts to be reduced.
As such, she explained "Safeway2School" was founded in 2009 to design, develop, integrate and evaluate technologies for providing holistic and safe transportation services for children from their home to school and vice versa, encompassing tools, services and training for all key actors in the relevant transportation chain.