ADB investment in India rail
Rail services in India, including those for freight, are to benefit from loans of up to $500m from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The multi-tranche financing facility for India’s Railway Sector Investment Programme is designed to improve services along some of its busiest freight and passenger transport routes.
The investment will target busy freight and passenger routes in the states of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, including the ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ corridor that connects Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi.
The Ministry of Railways will carry out the programme, which is due for completion by December 2018.
According to the ADB the loans will finance additional lines and the electrification of hundreds of kilometers of existing track, along with installing new signaling. ADB will also support accounting reforms to improve operational efficiency at Indian Railways.
“This programme will help deliver more energy efficient, safe, reliable, and environmentally friendly rail services along key high density routes,” said Hiroaki Yamaguchi, ADB principal transport specialist. “This in turn will result in direct and indirect economic opportunities for about 21m people in programme areas who will benefit from faster travel times, lower costs and improved links to markets, production centres and social service facilities.”
A lack of investment in new infrastructure and institutional constraints have seen services struggling to keep up with the rise in rail freight in India.
Funds will be released in several stages, with an initial loan of $150m.
The Government of India will provide counterpart finance of over $644m to cover the balance of the costs of the total programme, which is estimated at over $1.1 billion.
Supply chain competition comes to Detroit
General Motors is working with Wayne State University’s School of Business Administration in Michigan on a supply chain competition that will bring logistics students from across the US to Detroit for an in-depth look at the supply chain systems that support the automotive industry and its high-tech vehicles.
The General Motors/Wayne State University Supply Chain Case Competition, which is being sponsored by GM, Delphi and Ryder amongst others, will bring 16 university groups to the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center from September 22-25.
The programme aims to introduce students to the issues and challenges of buying advanced technology components for electric vehicles and will feature a sourcing exercise for the Chevrolet Volt. The students will examine topics such as component and logistics costs, single-source tradeoffs, global procurement, sustainability and recycling.

“This is a great chance for us to show young, talented supply chain professionals the many positive opportunities that Detroit and the automotive industry have to offer,” said John Taylor, associate professor and director of supply chain programs at Wayne State’s business school.

The participants will have the opportunity to tour the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant where the Chevrolet Volt is manufactured, as well as visit the Henry Ford Museum (and attend a Detroit Tigers game).

The 16 teams will be divided into four groups and participate in a regional competition on Friday, September 23. The winning regional teams will receive additional information and prepare a second presentation for the competition’s final round the next day.  Winning teams will take home plaques and cash prizes.

Read more here for information on the competition

Exel-DHL open border facility in Texas
Exel and DHL Supply Chain are building a 250,000-square-foot distribution centre in Laredo, Texas that will serve as a hub for clients across multiple sectors, including, automotive, technology engineering and manufacturing, wishing to ship across the US/Mexico border.
The facility, which is due to be completed in July next year, will serve as part of the Logistics Without Borders supply chain service, described as an end-to-end supply chain solution that provides Exel and DHL Supply Chain customers one-stop access to the tools, expertise and services necessary to ship across the border.
"Laredo is among the top US ports in North American trade volume and is a cornerstone to facilitate US/Mexico trade. So this area is absolutely a strategic location for Exel and DHL Supply Chain," said Luis Eraña, Exel's president for the technology, aerospace and service logistics industries.
Facility features will include comprehensive logistics services and certifications such as Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA-A) and Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).
"We want to give existing and future customers access to a location and logistics solution that supports cross-border business objectives and also simplifies their logistics processes,” continued Eraña. “This build-to-suit site in Laredo will offer customers the latest in real estate, security and logistics features and offers the potential for a phase two expansion as well."
Service offers vehicle shipments to Paris by barge
French carmakers including PSA and Renault have been shown a new way to deliver vehicles into the capital via a barge service on the Seine provided by inland waterway specialist Groupe CFT.
The service, called Distri, can transport up to 120 vehicles on a two-deck barge from storage facilities outside Paris (including Flins and Poissy where Renault and PSA have plants respectively). The vehicles are loaded and unloaded via a dedicated pontoon and ramp. Carmakers and French logistics providers including Gefco, Groupe CAT and STVA were able to see this in action recently when vehicles were unloaded at the Seine’s Quai Bercy.
The proposed service will provide an alternative to road-based finished vehicle deliveries into the city ahead of proposals to ban road carriers from entry to central Paris by 2016. A decision on this could be reached by the end of the year.
According to the company the Distri service could transport more than 30,000 vehicles into the centre of the Paris each year as well as handle return shipments.