The future of transport is green: conversation with Mama Sougoufara, Managing Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Alstom


Leading societies towards a low-carbon future, Mama Sougoufara, Alstom Managing Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, reveals how the company is at the forefront of mobility energy efficient

A French manufacturer and operator of rail transport throughout the world, Alstom has been involved since the 1950s in the development of transport and mobility in the region.

In the United Arab Emirates, the sustainable mobility company delivered the Dubai Tram, the first fully integrated tram system in the Middle East and the world’s first 100% catenary-free line, inaugurated in 2014. Since then, it has been entrusted with maintenance of the tram for 13 years.

Alstom has delivered the turnkey Automated Shuttle Bus (APM) system to Dubai Airports to connect Terminal 1 to Concourse D which opened in February 2016 and is designed to carry up to 200,000 passengers per day.

Mama Sougoufara reveals, “We designed and supplied all electrical and mechanical (E&M) elements, 18 Innovia 300 cars (operating as five-car trains), Cityflo 650 communication-based train control (CBTC) technology for driverless and responsible operation. and maintenance (O&M).

Most recently, the Alstom-led consortium was tasked with delivering the fastest turnkey driverless metro project in the world, the Dubai Route 2020 Metro Extension, which was inaugurated in June 2020.

Elaborating on the Dubai Metro project, Sougoufara said: “We are proud of the work we have done for the 15 km line of the Dubai Metro Route 2020.

“As consortium leader, we were responsible for the integration of the entire metro system, including the 50 metro trains, power supply, communication, signaling, automatic ticket control , track works, screen doors and a three-year warranty on the entire system, as well as the improvement of the existing metro line by improving the power supply, signaling systems, communication and works of way.

Focus on the Middle East
In addition, in the region, the company has several projects – completed and in progress. In Saudi Arabia, Alstom, as part of the FAST consortium, is supplying a fully integrated metro system for lines 4, 5 and 6, which includes 69 metro units from Riyadh based in the metropolis, as well as the delivery of 47 Innovia trains Two-car driverless metro. 300 trains for line 3.

In Makkah, Alstom was part of the Haramain high-speed rail line between Makkah and Madinah, supplying Talgo with Mitrac TC 3300 propulsion equipment and Flexifloat high-speed bogies for the powerheads of the 35 very high-speed trains as well as the VIP train for the 450 km line.

To Jeddah, Alstom is also the supplier of the turnkey Innovia APM 300 automated shuttle system at King Abdulaziz International Airport and responsible for operation and maintenance until June 2022.

In Qatar, Alstom delivered the Lusail Tramway, the country’s first catenary-free tram and a system that will deliver efficiency, availability and easy maintenance, supporting the country’s Vision 2030

Sougoufara says: “We are proud to contribute to the landscape of sustainable mobility in the region, as we are convinced that this will bring the necessary change towards a clean and ultimately emission-free energy system.

A new change
For decades, the Gulf region has been dependent on road transport – it is only in the last 15 years that other modes of transport such as rail and sea transport have made their entrance. “An efficient and technology-driven rail network is quickly becoming an important need. It can offer a much more efficient mode of transportation for moving goods and people around the region,” Sougoufara suggests.

“The Middle East has experienced rapid economic development and has the world’s youngest population and the second highest rate of urbanization in the world. This development can only be supported by resilient and modern transport infrastructure,” he adds.

“To this end, it is important that the Middle East has modern, interconnected and reliable public transport systems to guarantee access to economic centers for all, reduce pollution and congestion.

Sougoufara also believes an efficient rail network will support the region’s drive to meet sustainability goals – especially as the UAE and Egypt prepare to host COP conferences.

He believes that at the regional level, a robust and interconnected transport network will firmly position the Middle East as an economic leader. “An example of this is the $100 billion GCC Rail project, which is expected to open up new trade corridors for business and travel opportunities.”

Sustainability at the center
Alstom wants to capitalize on these opportunities and bring sustainable rail systems to the region. He explains: “The effects of climate change are increasingly being felt across the world, putting sustainability at the forefront. At Alstom, we are aware of this reality and the significant potential for better transport solutions must reduce global emissions.

“Rail transport is currently the most energy-efficient mode of transport and therefore providing residents with an efficient rail network will help reduce emissions per capita. About 85% of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector are related to surface systems. Therefore, a single person switching from the car to public transport can save up to 20 pounds of their CO2 emissions per day. At Alstom, we have a full range of green traction options, allowing us to help our customers go even further to reduce their emissions and cope with the rapid urbanization taking place in the region.

Alstom is also introducing innovative digital solutions to increase capacity and improve efficiency across its operations. An example is the improved navigation software which not only reduces the carbon footprint, but also solves some of the biggest transport problems such as traffic congestion.

Alstom has announced clear environmental targets for 2025, including: achieving science-based CO2 emission reduction targets under the Paris COP21 agreement; 25% reduction in CO2 emissions; 100% of the new solutions developed are eco-designed; and 100% of the electricity supplied by renewable energies.

He says: “For us, this means that Alstom is looking to reduce its carbon emissions across the entire value chain. For our customers, this means we are ready to work with them to address the challenges we collectively face due to rapid urbanization and global warming.

“And we do this by meeting their individual needs, there is no one-size-fits-all solution and because we have the largest portfolio of solutions we are able to provide them with exactly what they need to achieve their goals. sustainability, whatever they are.”

And Alstom does not rely on a single source of green energy. “There are many options for powering mobility and transportation systems. As a leader in sustainable mobility, Alstom has developed a wide range of green and innovative technologies to reduce emissions and pollution in catenary-free operation. Customers can choose from a broad portfolio of proven solutions based on Alstom’s unrivaled expertise in hydrogen, battery or electric-hydrogen dual-mode,” says Sougoufara.

He adds: “On the hydrogen front, we are proud to have the Coradia iLint, the world’s first hydrogen train in passenger service in Germany since 2018. This represents a real alternative to diesel.

“In addition, Alstom is a pioneer in battery-powered trains and offers trains for different platforms. We recently supplied the world’s first battery-powered train for passenger operation in Germany.

“Depending on the needs, the infrastructure and the environment, we will be able to advise customers on the best solution. We need to look at the whole ecosystem and make sure that when a green solution is introduced, the whole system, including the rolling stock, is optimized. »


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