We are a federal corporation, of course, and as such we have a certain responsibility towards the state and the nation. This was reflected in our principle role as the sole provider of student transport for government schools, a role we still fill over 33 years later. We currently transport more than 200,000 students to and from schools on a daily basis. It is a big responsibility that we take very seriously and, thankfully, we have succeeded in creating a school transport system that is recognised as, probably, the best in the region.
Over the last 10 years, however, the corporation has witnessed considerable growth after venturing into more commercial avenues.
We managed to achieve this by diversifying our services, particularly in the fields of transport and auto maintenance and repair, and targeting both public and private sector entities. Thankfully, we managed—in a short space of time—to develop our business model to meet the demands of the market.
This was achieved through the ET Group of Business Centres, which were set up to provide a better, more focused approach for each service.
More recently, this commercial trajectory of the corporation has taken a sharp upward turn, as we went through a rapid expansion period.
We now have 27 business centres and units, eight associate companies, and hundreds of public and private sector clients, including most of the major federal government entities and a number of leading multinationals.
We are a commercial federal corporation and as such we have responsibilities and duties to the state, as well as to our clients, who come from both the public and private sectors. Our profits go directly to the government which helps to boost the national economy.
Therefore, we believe we can best serve the state by providing the best services to our clients and being the best at what we do. This includes maintaining high operational standards for all of our government sector clients and helping them, in turn, to achieve their own targets.
Our corporate strategic plans are based on the long-term strategic plans of the government, such as the UAE Vision 2021, an ambitious charter which aims to elevate standards across all economic, social, and environmental fields to make the UAE among the best countries in the world.
We have a duty to support the national interests of the UAE and we do that by a number of ways including giving our support to national and community events and initiatives by way of sponsorship and any other means. This comes under our corporate social responsibility charter, which, to us, forms a very important part of who we are as a federal corporation.
A strategically key event for us will be the Dubai Expo 2020, which will be a chance to support a major national event as well as being an important business opportunity.
We enjoy a comprehensive presence throughout the country through nine branches, covering all emirates and areas of the state.
We find that, with our ongoing growth, particularly over the last couple of years, we have to invest more in our expansion plans for commercial facilities and infrastructure. Currently, we are in the midst of a one billion dirham infrastructure development plan, which entails the upgrade and construction of new administrative and service buildings across the state.
All of our buildings and facilities undergo regular upgrades and maintenance and, increasingly, this means introducing green elements to their structure. New buildings already adhere to green practices.
In terms of our equipment, we have a strategy of insisting on the best quality from our suppliers to maintain the high standards that our clients have come to expect. This extends to all assets ranging from our buses to the equipment we use for our auto maintenance and repair services.
Long-term collaborations and partnerships form the basis of our strategic business plans. Over the 33 years of our existence, we’ve had numerous such working relationships with both public and private sector entities.
Our successful track record and vast experience gives us a major advantage in that sense, as we can use our extensive business and client portfolios to generate new commercial opportunities.
Some of our major long-term partners include the Ministry of Education, the Abu Dhabi Education Council, the Ministry of Interior, Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and Etisalat. From the private sector we have strong working relations with a number of major players from the auto industry such as Toyota and Hyundai.
On the regional level, we have recently agreed to a new venture, our first in the major Saudi market, for the establishment of the Saudi-Emirati Transport Company which will aim to provide transport and auto mechanic services.
Internationally, we strive to keep pace with the latest business-related best practices and trends by participating in major events and awards. We are also members of a number of international bodies such as The National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and the International Association of Public Transport (UITP).
As we mentioned before, the successful business model created by Emirates Transport, particularly in the school transport sector, has made it stand out as a leading example in the region and this has attracted attention from market players in neighbouring countries.
Expanding regionally is something we’ve had in mind for some time and, in 2013, the official approval was given by the board of ET to pave the way for regional investment.
After this we entered into talks with the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) and the two sides agreed to form the Saudi-Emirati Transport Company. The company is based in Riyadh, and was registered under a 50/50 share basis between the two companies.
We are excited by this project and we feel confident it will be followed by similar ventures in the future.
As we mentioned previously, we are constantly growing as a company and have expansion projects planned ahead, but at the moment we have three major notable directions:
1) Providing access to our services through online and smart phone applications.
2) Targeting private sector schools.
3) Expansion and specializing in auto mechanical and logistic services.
We take pride in pursuing excellence in the work we do, and in the recognition this work receives.
One of the most recent of these honours was the Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport— First place in the category of school transport. It was the sixth consecutive year in which ET was recognised in various categories.
Notable awards for environmental and sustainable transport practices include:
1) The BGreen Award 2013 – Most Sustainable Government Department.
2) Green Middle East Environment Excellence Awards – Natural Resources Conservation category – 2012.
3) Emirates Energy Awards 2013 – CNG conversion projects.
We were also the first, and only, government entity to win the Dubai Chamber CSR Label – 2012, 2013.
For our services we won a number of awards including:
1) The UITP Award in Customer Services – MINA Region, 2013
2) The Emirates Government Service Excellence Award – 2010, 2011
Also recently, Emirates Transport secured a major achievement when we were named among the best companies to work for in Asia; this follows on the footsteps of being named among the best places to work in the UAE. It is something we feel very proud of as we invest a lot of time, effort, and finances into our human resources and we strive to create the best working environment that will contribute to high rates of job satisfaction and increased productivity.
We have seven main divisions, which are: Support Services, Corporate Services, Business Development, Logistics Services, Technical Services, Transport & Lease, and School Transport.
We also have eight associate companies (50/50 ownerships) offering taxi, facilities management, and security services.
We currently have 16,500 employees representing 44 nationalities, making us one of the largest and most diverse employers in the UAE.
We strongly believe that our employees are our most precious asset. Therefore, offering them the right training and working environment is regarded as top priority.
We offer training and skill development opportunities for all our employees, but certain categories of employees, such as drivers and school bus supervisors, follow a strict regular training system as part of their job requirements and to maintain our high standards.
We also strive to offer career growth opportunities to the corporation’s own employees and we are proud to say that many of our senior executives and managers have made their way through the ranks. Some of them, in fact, started as trainees a long time ago.
A number of things, I think. First we put great emphasis on excellence and quality throughout all our operations by adopting best international practices and strongly promoting a culture of professionalism at the workplace.
We also put a lot of effort and thought into our strategic planning and follow-up and rely on a close and accurate reading of the market in achieving this.
Flexibility and diversification of services are also two important concepts that have served us well. And last, but not least, we have a highly capable and motivated work force that can meet targets and even exceed expectations.
Ensuring quality and safety standards is, ultimately, the responsibility of management, but, of course, it requires the cooperation of all employees. As a corporation we invest heavily in establishing a culture of quality and excellence throughout all our business practices and have put in place mechanisms and policies to ensure this.
Our Operations and HSE departments lead the way in this field, but, as mentioned before, we try to spread a culture of high standards among our employees and this, for us, is the best means of reaching our targets.
Two of our major trends, at the moment, revolve around introducing sustainable practices and smart services across the various operations of the corporation, including internal (employees/work systems) and external (clients) platforms.
We would like to highlight the fact that one of the most attractive features of ET—from the client’s point of view—is that we provide integrated services that include transport and leasing (including hire of vehicles and drivers), auto repair and maintenance, fleet management, as well as used car auctions and complimentary services such as car cleaning services.
We also want to highlight our trend towards implementing sustainable practices and policies according to international standards. It is something we take seriously and see as part of our responsibility towards the local and global community.
Finally, we would like to shed light on how we have recently moved towards having more of a commercial approach with emphasis on financial results. But it’s important to stress that such a move will in no way diminish our role as a socially responsible corporation.