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MAKKAH: Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Saleh Al-Jasser said that the transport sector is fully prepared to provide the best services to pilgrims during the Hajj season.

At a press conference organized by the Ministry of Transport on Thursday to review its plans and logistics services in Mina, it said that all necessary human resources have been mobilised, with more than 47,000 transport sector employees trained and equipped with all the necessary tools to guarantee the highest quality of service.

He said there are 22 comprehensive plans for the transport sector, including operational plans, corporate sustainability strategies and emergency response plans, all fully integrated with relevant agencies and operating under the supervision of the Supreme Hajj Committee.

He said new technologies will continue to be employed this year. There are 32 scientific experiments planned for the Hajj season, including 17 new technologies such as air taxis, delivery services and various other innovations. Furthermore, a new road infrastructure experiment was conducted by mixing rubber and asphalt on the main pedestrian street to improve the comfort and safety of pilgrims. A white coating has been applied to reduce the temperature and the streets adjacent to the Namira Mosque have been widened for better accessibility.

He explained that last year’s coating experiment at a specific location in the holy places successfully reduced the temperature by 15°C. Building on this success, this year the experiment was expanded to include the use of a mixture of rubber with asphalt to further improve the infrastructure.

This year six airports have been equipped to welcome pilgrims and national and international airlines are involved in their transport. About 250 arrival destinations are prepared, the largest number ever recorded for the Hajj season. Furthermore, preparations are underway to ensure that the pilgrims return safely to their homes.

The minister said the transport sector is committed to continuing the implementation of the plans in the coming days. Inspections were conducted at the sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah, as well as visits to Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz Airport, Jeddah Islamic Port and other facilities that work together to provide comprehensive services to pilgrims.

In turn, Saudi Post President Anef Abanomi said that more than 2,570 employees are on site serving pilgrims. He pointed out that they have implemented geospatial services to provide addresses and navigation aids and are involved in transporting pilgrims’ luggage from airports and various places to the holy sites of Mecca, and then returning them safely to their respective locations. Furthermore, they provide postal services to over 120 government agencies around the clock, reaching all pilgrims through more than 45 fixed and mobile stations in Mecca, Medina and other places. Additionally, they offer services for selling sacrificial animals and transporting packages to countries around the world after the Hajj season.

Omar Hariri, president of the Saudi Ports Authority, announced that it had welcomed 3,700 of an expected 4,500 pilgrims, with the last ship expected to arrive on Friday. He highlighted the launch of the “Passengers without luggage” service, which simplifies pilgrims’ travel. Hariri also reported the movement of 2.5 million livestock, marking an increase of 8% compared to last year, as well as the movement of 600,000 containers and various foodstuffs.

Bashar Al-Malik, CEO of Saudi Railway Co., said they are serving pilgrims through two key networks. The first is the Haramain high-speed railway, which connects Mecca and Medina, with additional stops at two stations in Jeddah and one in Rabigh, for a total of five stations. The second network is the Al-Mashaaer metro line, which provides transportation within the holy sites, with nine stations.

He added that the Haramain high-speed railway operates 35 trains on a network spanning 453 km, making it one of the 10 fastest trains in the world, reaching speeds of up to 300 km/h. This year the seating capacity has been increased to 1.6 million, which is 100,000 more seats than last year. He also highlighted a new provision that allows pilgrims to travel directly from the airport to Jeddah train station without their luggage, ensuring that their bags arrive at their accommodations before them.

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