Chicago South Hyperloop (No. 001)

Photo: Hyperloop Transport Technologies

The other morning I saw a fascinating news story. I immediately translated it into a project I was exploring to bring high speed rail travel between Louisville, Kentucky and Chicago, Illinois. Highlights of the story :

Imagine Paris to Marseille in just 40 minutes, or Paris to Rome in just over one hour. French rail chiefs believe it’s not just a pie in the sky idea.

Hyperloop One startup, intent on zipping people along at near-supersonic speeds in pressurized tubes, announced Tuesday that the French national rail company had joined its growing list of backers.

Hyperloop One said that it raised $80 million in fresh funding from an array of investors, including GE Ventures and France’s SNCF.

The overwhelming response we’ve had already confirms what we’ve always known, that Hyperloop One is at the forefront of a movement to solve one of the planet’s most pressing problems,” Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar said.

The brightest minds are coming together at the right time to eliminate the distances and borders that separate economies and cultures.”

 

With Hyperloop’s average speed of 603miles/hour or 970km/hour, imagine all the cities in France being within an hour’s travelling time from Paris. Paris to Marseille for example could take as little as 40 minutes – the time spent by many commuters on the Paris Metro each morning. A trip to Rome on the Hyperloop would also be little over an hour away and Berlin would be 55 minutes according to very, very early guesstimates.

Pishevar and Brogan BamBrogan founded Hyperloop One, originally named Hyperloop Technologies, in 2013 to make real Elon Musk’s well-researched vision of a lightning-fast transport system with the potential to transform how people live. Hyperloop One plans a demonstration in the desert outside Las Vegas to show what it has accomplished so far. BamBrogan also promised a “full-scaled, full-speed” demo by the end of the year.

Hyperloop One is so confident in the speed at which the project is moving that it announced a global challenge in which businesses, governments, citizens, academics and others can submit proposals for where the systems should be built. “Just like an Olympics bidding process, we want to understand the great ideas in the world and then extract the best one,” Hyperloop One chief executive Rob Lloyd said.

See more on this original announcement.

Now more on my involvement with high-speed rail and Louisville.

Working with JWH Financial Services LLC. I plan to respond to the US Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration who has issued an RFP to « Finance, design, operate, construct, maintain a high speed rail system ». Congressional laws require the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to “issue a request for proposals for projects for the financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a high-speed passenger rail system operating within a high-speed rail corridor.”

The “catch” is that no Federal funding will be available. BUT in the past year All Aboard Florida IS constructing a high-speed rail network in Florida WITHOUT US Government funding. This step will provide publicity, especially if “the Department of Transportation MAY establish commissions to further review and develop proposals.”

In the « suggested corridors » from the FRA RFP I find they are interested in a corridor from Chicago to Indianapolis then to Louisville and Cincinnati. Looking at a map, it makes sense, but do we have any expertise in Cincinnati area ?

So now we give birth to CHICAGO SOUTH HYPERLOOP !

Anybody building into Chicago will have a big problem in finding space. As a sensible alternative, We are suggesting that the new railroad start instead at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. It is already served by the “South Shore” railroad which has a great terminal in downtown Chicago. Gary Airport is receiving Federal funding from Dept. of Transportation and South Shore railroad is receiving State/local funding for expansion.

Yes, things are starting to move on this project. On May 11, Elon Musk’s Hyperloop dream takes a step towards reality with first public propulsion test.

Based on a suggestion by James W. Stokes, Jr., we are investigating locating the transit line between Gary, Indiana and Louisville, KY in the median strip on Interstate 65.

Give us YOUR suggestions and Ideas

Written by Ken Kinlock kenkinlock@gmail.com

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How Visible Is Your Supply Chain?

Supply chain visibility is a tough nut to crack. How you define it may provide some insight on how well you’re doing, and a short-sighted view may stunt your progress. On the 21st Century Supply Chain site, Alexa Cheater discusses the disparate definitions and how important end-to-end visibility is.

Are Short-Sighted Goals Holding Your

Supply chains are growing more complex by the minute. With increased outsourcing, companies’ broad market penetration and expansion, not to mention the overall volume of products, it’s no wonder the difficulty in integrating all those internal and external supply chain nodes has grown exponentially.

Smart companies are turning to improving their supply chain visibility to help combat this connectivity problem, but the truly wise ones realize end-to-end visibility alone won’t yield effective supply chain orchestration. It’s just one step of many on the path to achieving higher levels of  maturity.

Gartner’s five-stage demand-driven maturity model for supply chains outlines visibility as a key focus of supply chains in Stage 3 (Integrate), but with two more stages (Collaborate, Orchestrate) on their maturity model, it can’t be the end goal.

Viewing visibility as simply being able to ‘see the data’ is a surefire way to hold your company back from achieving those higher levels of maturity. While that end-to-end visibility is important, it’s the ability to leverage it for deep analysis and quick action where true value is realized. That means developing a definition of visibility that also includes the requirements for associated data and analytical capabilities.

Depending on your company’s current maturity, your definition of supply chain visibility may fall into one of these three categories:

How I Did
This is what you typically get out of your enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. It’s focused on metrics, and while it has great value in setting policies to improve performance over the longer term, it’s of little help in situations of imminent danger.

How I Am Doing
This type of visibility only allows for insight between business functions and/or organizations. It doesn’t provide visibility holistically across functions, and does little to enable one to accurately see ahead.

How I Will Do
This end-to-end visibility gives advanced warning to future danger, provides a runway for course correction, and inherently spans across organizations. It includes analytics and modeling capabilities to project results of what-if simulations.

Which definition does your company use?

The goal of supply chain visibility should lead you down a path to data connectivity, not just information gathering. By addressing the connectivity challenge in a way that gives quick access to multi-enterprise supply chain information, supply chain teams can not only solve their visibility challenge but also enable core supply chain capabilities which help them to address today’s top business challenges.

If you’d like to learn more about supply chain visibility, download a copy of the Supply Chain Visibility: Avoiding Short-Sighted Goals white paper, or check out our infographic, Supply Chain Visibility: Seeing is Achieving.

Supply Chain Back?

AlexaCheater

 

US exporters want Congress to determine if SOLAS can be revoked or revised

WASHINGTON — Agriculture shippers are asking Congress to determine whether the U.S government can revise or downright revoke a new international container weight rule, ahead of a congressional hearing on the controversial regulation next week.

“We ask Congress to determine if the Coast Guard, as the U.S. representative to the IMO, (can) revisit the IMO SOLAS amendment and gain revisions, if not revocation,” the Agriculture Transportation Coalition said in a statement Thursday.

The group has been a fierce opponent to the International Maritime Organization’s amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS, Convention that will require all shipping containers be accompanied by documentation detailing their verified gross mass prior to vessel loading effective July 1.

AgTC has said that not only has the new rule left many shippers mired in confusion with less than 100 days before it goes into effect, but the regulation could also handicap U.S. producers that compete against other countries where enforcement may be lax.

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a hearing next week looking into the impact of the SOLAS rule on U.S. exporters. Congress rarely weighs in on container shipping unless there is concern about export trade — as lawmakers did during the 2014-15 West Coast port congestion crisis.

And, according to AgTC, the SOLAS amendment is “not simply a technical maritime matter, but rather, will have a significant impact on U.S. export competitiveness and the U.S. economy, at a time that the Federal Reserve Board and others are concerned about the health of U.S. exports and the drag on the U.S. economy.”

Due to the strong U.S. dollar and slowing global demand, U.S. containerized exports will only grow 4 percent this year after falling roughly 2.5 percent last year, according to Mario Moreno, senior economist for IHS Maritime & Trade.

AgTC is also questioning the supremacy of IMO regulations over U.S. law.

“We ask Congress to determine how a change in ocean shipping practices of such magnitude as this SOLAS rule, can be imposed on the U.S., without any prior Congressional notice, review or approval,” the group said.

AgTC has been pushing for what the groups calls a “rational” means of implementation ahead of the July 1 SOLAS amendment rollout.

By that, the group means a system in which U.S. exporters certify the weight of their cargo and packing materials, while container lines would certify the weight of the containers that they own, control and manage. The liners would then combine the two weights to create a VGM that  is submitted to the terminal operator before loading. The carriers say they need the VGM days in advance to make stowage plans with the marine terminals.

AgTC has argued that other groups, specifically the World Shipping Council and the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association, have been pushing an alternative agenda.

“Their approach: demanding that an individual employee in the U.S. exporting company, such as a farmer or food processor, be personally liable to certify the weight of the ocean carrier’s own container and send that certification to that same ocean carrier,” AgTC said.

The shippers group likened that methodology to something out of Lewis Carroll’s book “Alice in Wonderland.”

According to AgTC, the aforementioned “scheme” will impose unnecessary costs and delay shipments. It will also give rise to congestion at U.S. ports, missed sailings, spoiled cargo and angry foreign customers, the group said.

AgTC additionally cited investment bank Cowen & Company that has projected the “overly strict method of compliance” will increase the cost of shipping by container anywhere from $50 to $125 per box and create “massive disruption” at U.S. ports.

What the group means by “personally liable,” however, is unclear. The U.S. Coast Guard has said that it will not be penalizing shippers for noncompliance with the new SOLAS amendment. The federal agency has gone on record to say that compliance with the new rule should be handled as a “business practice” instead of through regulatory enforcement.

Peter Friedmann, AgTC’s executive director, clarified that his group takes issue with OCEMA’s published “best practices.” Those practices state carriers will require the name and a signature of shippers to accompany VGM documentation, Friedmann said.

“To the exporters, that looks like an avenue for the carrier to hold an individual liable, should there be damage, injury, etc.,” he told JOC.com Thursday.

At issue, Friedmann said, is that a shipper’s signature makes him liable for both the weight of his cargo, but also the weight of the carrier’s container.

“Now, I understand the shippers don’t mind signing for and being liable for the weight of their cargo, but they are highly averse to signing for and being liable for the weight of the carrier’s own container,” he said.

WSC responded Thursday that it was surprised that Friedmann’s group, which began asking last fall for more clarification on VGM transmittal methods, now seems upset because carriers have responded to their request. The WSC represents carriers controlling roughly 90 percent of global container capacity and was a major player in the creation of the SOLAS rule.

Both AgTC and WSC will be in attendance at the upcoming congressional hearing.

Although the amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention approved in 2014 has been raised at several congressional hearings, the April 14 hearing is the first time the issue will come front and center on Capitol Hill.

“We look forward to discussing the facts about the important safety issue of having accurate weights for packed containers being loaded on the ships that carry the import and export commerce of the United States,” WSC said.

Those scheduled to testify at the hearing include Donna Lemm, vice president of sales and marketing at logistics provider Mallory Alexander and chairwoman of AgTC’s Container Weight Committee; WSC CEO and President John Butler; John Crowley, executive director of the National Association of Waterfront Employers; and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, according to their respective organizations and agency.