Riyadh Chamber of Commerce Visit

On 18th April 2017 the A-BCC received a delegation from the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce which was on a trade mission to learn about how the UK’s transport system works and how it delivers advertising on transport infrastructure.

The Riyadh delegation consisted of the following officials:

Mr Saud El Nefiee, Member of the Board of Directors of Riyadh Chamber and Head of its Logistics and Transportation Division;

Fouad Al Dakkan, Representative of the General Directorate of Traffic;

Eng. Maeed Al Saeed, Representative of General Transportation;

Mr Talal Alotaibi, Head of Committee for Shipment and Refrigerating Transport;

Mr Fahad Alabdalkareem, Secretary of Hotelling Consultancy Committee;

Mr Mohamed Alqahtani, Logistics & Transportation Committee, Manager;

Mr Husam Alrayes, Riyadh Chamber of Commerce, Committee Manager;

Mr Faisal Alsaleh, Saudi Chamber Council.

Our first visit was to the London Chamber of Commerce where we were received by the Deputy CEO, Mr. Peter Bishop.

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital’s largest independent networking and business support organisation. Representing the interests of thousands of companies, LCCI also represents the interests of its members to key business stakeholders and influencers in London and further afield across all business sectors where it plays a key role in lobbying government, the GLA and local government on London’s transport infrastructure from Cross Rail to the third runway at Heathrow.

During the meeting Mr. Bishop welcomed the delegation and informed them about his recent visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce. He proceeded to inform the delegation how the chamber seeks to influence better transport infrastructure to serve the businesses they represent and indicated a keenness to see the river playing a bigger role in the transport of goods as occurred in the past where London received goods from ports around the world such as sugar, tea and many other products.

The conversation then moved on to making comparisons between both chambers in regards to their staffing numbers, their range of membership, membership fees and number of branches that the Chambers have. On the question of income generation, Mr. Bishop confirmed that the vast proportion of its income derived from trade documentation services and this led on to discussions on ATA carnets which the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce was going to underwrite.

At this point Mr Saud El Nefiee offered to assist the progress of this agreement if required and then thanked Mr. Bishop on behalf of the delegation and the Saudi Chamber and offered an open invitation for the LCCI to visit them in Riyadh.

The meeting closed with Mr Saud El Nefiee presenting Mr Bishop with Riyadh Chamber’s shield.

Our second meeting was with senior members of Transport for London (TfL) and Exterion Media. The officials taking part in the discussion were Chris Reader, Head of Commercial Media, Justin Brand, Commercial Revenue Director, Mike Flynn, Head of Consulting, Gavin Brice, UK Franchise Director, Exterion Media and Mark Heather, National Sales Director, Exterion Media.

Transport for London is the department within the Greater London Assembly headed by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Upon election Mr Khan nominated Valerie Shawcross CBE as his deputy Mayor for transport and it was through her office that we secured meetings with her lead team and Exterion.

TfL is a local government body responsible for the transport system across Greater London and has responsibility for the city’s network of principal road routes, various rail networks, including the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and TfL Rail, as well as London’s trams, buses and taxis, cycling provision and river services. In 2015-16, TfL had a budget of £11.5 billion.

Exterion Media is the chosen partner for TfL and as one of the UK’s leading outdoor advertising companies, it specialises in engaging and delivering valuable audiences for advertisers through a variety of formats including digital. Exterion Media has the largest portfolio of advertising partnerships within the UK transport sector. The company has long-term partnerships with some of the biggest transport and retail businesses in the UK; businesses which provide transport services to over 8 million passengers a day. Currently Exterion is responsible for all the advertising delivered on all London buses, bus shelters, London Underground, Overground trains, DLR trains, Trams, the Emirate Airline Cable, the River Bus service and all retail units located on TfL properties.

The meeting began with formal welcoming addresses and introductions followed by an extensive and detailed presentation from TfL that covered all aspects of understanding the roles of all the bodies and the framework of policies that governed the transport infrastructure.

Initial discussions revolved around passenger capacity across all modes of transport and the importance of capturing their needs through digital communications and all forms of technology such as beacons and apps.

During the discussion clarification was sought regarding income generation, the rules and regulation governing advertising, including those bodies in the UK that have responsibility to regulate advertising. Reference was made to the advertising trading agency to which all advertising is obliged to comply, but TfL sets stringent criteria that must be upheld.

We then turned to income generation through advertising across all possible areas. This provided a good insight into the importance of income generation available to the transport body.  It also highlighted how TfL had developed a 10 year plan to deliver substantial income by 2024.

On the legal aspect it was clarified to the delegation that in principle private and public bodies are able to freely advertise providing that any proposed advert is not indecent or in breach of advertising standards. However, it was noted that no fines were imposed in such cases and only an order to remove the offending advert was issued.

With regards to TfL’s contract with Exterion, it was explained that mechanisms are set in place to vet all advertising before they can appear on any public transport vehicle or infrastructure in accordance with TfL’s policies.

In regards to accidents, it was explained that in principle the advertising body was responsible for re-instating adverts on the damaged vehicle at no cost to the advertiser.

A point of advice was offered which was that advertising must be directed to a relevant audience and therefore before embarking on posting adverts on a bus a study must be completed to substantiate its worth to the customer.

It was agreed that TfL/Exterion would provide us with the presentation and the policy document governing advertising regulations.

At this point, Mr Saud El Nefiee thanked the teams from TfL and Exterion and highlighted the opportunity available for both organisations to assist the kingdom in adopting similar standards. It was welcome news to hear that one of TfL’s senior members had worked in Saudi Arabia and advised on the bus infrastructure and it was also agreed that Exterion could add more value to the delegation’s project.

A word of thanks on behalf of the delegation and the Saudi Chamber was offered along with an open invitation to visit them in Riyadh.

The meeting closed and Mr Saud El Nefiee presented the chamber’s shield to TfL/Exterion.

At the end of the visit the delegation was warmly received at the Arab British Chamber of Commerce’s premises by Dr Afnan Al Shuaiby, Secretary General and CEO of the A-BCC.