The Future Of Freight (HYPERLOOP Ali No 9)

Yes we are excited about HYPERLOOP!

We want to carry passengers between Chicago and Louisville.But JWH Financial Services has never carried a passenger anywhere.

There are some great technology articles on HYPERLOOP ONE. a company working to make business magnate Elon Musk’s magnetic tube travel dream a reality, has been making significant progress in the last few weeks, including a cost-softening “tube deformer.” Could the pipe dream become pipe reality? A Hyperloop is a theoretical high-speed transportation system in which capsules containing cargo — and eventually passengers — would be placed in reduced-pressure tubes and launched at almost 800mph. The speed would significantly reduce traveling time between US cities. Los Angeles to San Francisco (usually 5 hours), for example, would take a mere 36 minutes in the Hyperloop.In just the past few weeks, Hyperloop One announced its first public test on a track in the Nevada desert, followed by a prototype pod and a new “tube deformer” revealed on Instagram on June 8.

Here is the link: Hyperloop One

Sorry for the format, but WordPress changed how you added links but told nobody. SHAME ON YOU WORDPRESS.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) says it has created a new material that is ten times stronger than steel but 5 times lighter than aluminum. Think about that for a minute. Assuming those claims can be verified and also assuming the material is not otherworldly expensive, it may take the place of carbon fiber the way Saran Wrap displaced waxed paper.

But I never said we were techies. We are good at logistics.

We know air, trucking,ocean and especially rail.

The future of freight transportation is taking shape. While bursting with opportunity, the shifts will see any who don’t adapt discarded to the bone yard of history. We’ve seen this to a degree already with the robot revolution taking place on factory floors. Outsourcing has taken the brunt of the blame for disappearing manufacturing jobs, but automation is just as culpable. That’s “progress,” and it’s not sentimental. Why would a manufacturer who can automate pay more for less efficiency? Nostalgia? Explain that one to shareholders.

The logistics overhaul is already in the news. How is the industry responding to the piling on of regulations that constrict drivers and prevent them from meeting delivery deadlines? It’s turning to new technology, investing in driverless trucks. Wal-Mart introduced its prototype last year; this year a start-up founded by former engineers from Google’s self-driving vehicle unit is taking up the mantle, looking for 1,000 volunteer truckers to have the technology retrofitted on their rigs. The irony won’t be immediately apparent, as the company says truckers will still be onboard. But the future will keep on coming; what do you suppose will happen once this technology has been long perfected?

Hit the road, Jack.

Above the trucks, skies will be abuzz with drones making on-demand deliveries. A few are up there already, but the full realization isn’t far behind. Why? Andreas Raptopoulos, founder and CEO of Matternet recently explained to MarketWatch: “It’s much more cost-, energy- and time-efficient to send [a blood sample] via drone, rather than send it in a two-ton car down the highway with a person inside to bring it to a different lab for testing.” And that’s just B2B; what are the parcel carriers and final-mile truckers planning for when Amazon eventually rolls out its massive drone fleet?

The development I’m excited about is Hyperloop. If you haven’t heard of it, essentially the design is a network of tubes through which a magnetically levitating pod travels at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour, shortening travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco, for instance, to just 30 minutes. While the concept isn’t new, the basic science for making it a reality was hashed out by Elon Musk (he noodled on it while stuck in L.A. traffic) who then open-sourced it to anyone willing to make it a reality. Musk was apparently busy pioneering the electric car industry, the solar industry, dabbling in A.I. and, y’know, colonizing Mars.

Futuristic as the Hyperloop sounds, a company that jumped on the technology, Hyperloop One, recently conducted a successful acceleration test in Nevada that had its CEO harkening to the Wright Bros.’ “Kitty Hawk” moment. But here’s what we know: It may be a while before you grab dinner at a chic San Fran restaurant before the Dodger game, but the Hyperloop’s first tasks will be to move freight. This makes sense; no lives will be at stake, and if something catastrophic happens, it will be to non-living/breathing goods that can be replaced if properly insured.

Airline execs are supposedly gritting their teeth and maybe even plotting against the Hyperloop, but what about the rail companies, long-haul truckers and even air cargo execs? Should they not be as worried?

Let me back up and say I started thinking about all this while working on the first-time feature we’re publishing in this issue, “13 Logistics Thought Leaders,” which salutes well-deserving executives who have been ahead of the curve in the industry—and in some cases are shaping the curve. While the feature focuses on their successes rather than tomorrow’s technologies, I found myself wondering who among them would embrace these advancements first.

Embrace competitive technology? Well, yeah. It’s mom’s old advice, right? “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Rather than fight against the future, if in 10 years your shipment is zipping along the BNSF track of the new Hyperloop, arriving faster, safer and cheaper thanks to some forward-thinking executives who accepted the new era would come and jumped onboard, wouldn’t everyone win?

Well, everyone except the ex-engineer.

And herein lies the problem. The march of “progress” always leaves casualties in its boot tracks. It’s easy enough for me to embrace this future—I only write about the transportation industry. It did occur to me though, if I were the CEO of Delta, for example, I would invest in Hyperloop technology the instant it proved viable. It may indeed be damaging to air travel, but travelers will still need attendants, tracks and vehicles will still need maintenance, and who knows what other needs will arise—a slow transition could save a lot of jobs, and whoever plans ahead will be well positioned. Likewise with freight transportation, a long view of the future, embraced by the right executives, will make for an exciting, thriving logistics industry a decade or two from now.


Contemporary Reading

Cafe Book Bean

12829695-mmmain - EditedI enjoy reading a large variety of different books. Contemporary fiction is a bit of a loose term considering that time and reality are always changing.
A book that once 50, 100, or even 500 plus years ago was considered contemporary fiction, may seem to us to be historical fiction. Also, many times we read books written way before our own time that was meant to be science fiction, but considering the development of current technology seems now to be dsytopian/contemporary. This of course is one of the many beauties of literature; the variety of experiences that can be enjoyed all thought the ages. I personally do not tend to read as much “current” Contemporary fiction, but I have read some great ones.

Here are some current contemporary fiction highlights:

And Then There Where None
Agatha Christie

Also a mystery, but a very realistic and enjoyable adventure. It is an excellent…

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Day 1219: Tone

The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Try to imagine my tone of voice as I say any of the following statements:

Every year, I wait for the arrival of spring.

Spring is my favorite time of year.

I LOVE walking outside in sunny weather, feasting my eyes on the flowering trees and all the other brilliant colors of spring.

For years, I’ve done all I can do to take a week off from work in spring to enjoy the blossoming colors after the long Boston winter.

Last year, the local weather in May was predictably beautiful, but I had heart-related surgery during my week off, so I couldn’t really enjoy it.

Two years ago, I had pneumonia during April and May.

This year, I need to travel to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, at the end of May to consult with a cardiologist.

I was afraid that trip to the Mayo Clinic might prevent my…

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‘@Caltrain Sucks’: New Frontiers in Transit Agency Social Media

Just last month, BART — or should we say @SFBART — sent out a tweet that rocked the world for social media pundits and at least some customers.

Amid a service meltdown in the East Bay, the BART Twitter account let it be known that yes, the system’s infrastructure was old, frayed and kind of screwed up.

“This is our reality” became a mini-meme and hashtag, touched off a mostly thoughtful conversation with the system’s riders and made Taylor Huckaby, the BART employee who works the @SFBART account, a bit of a celebrity.

The general tenor of the ensuing coverage was laudatory: Just imagine a public agency being so real with the public! (Not everyone was buying BART’s “truth bombs,” though. Daniel Borenstein, a columnist for the East Bay WhateverYouCallIt who has long been a bruising critic of BART management, called the tweets “diversionary propaganda.”)

Anyway. That was last month. BART has run for several weeks with its usual crowding, normal delays and a mishap involving a brand-new train car. #ThisIsOurReality is all but forgotten.

Now another Bay Area transit agency is upping the ante for social media attention.

On Thursday, the guy running the official account for Caltrain noticed a tweet from someone who was debating whether to drive up the Peninsula to San Mateo, a trip that would take 48 minutes, or take the train, which would take 18 minutes. Here’s how @Caltrain responded:

The message there, of course, is that “Caltrain doesn’t suck, and you’d be crazy to drive.”

Caltrain’s gambit, as explained in a series of exchanges with Twitter followers who expressed amazement that the account had not been hacked, aimed to promote a conversation about its service. And the conversation included some @SFBART-like straight talk about the agency’s shortcomings, along with customer surprise and gratitude:

Screenshot of Twitter conversation between @Caltrain and some of its followers.
Screenshot of Twitter conversation between @Caltrain and some of its followers. (Twitter screenshot)

Caltrain spokesman Will Reisman confirmed Friday that the @Caltrain tweets were real and originated with the agency’s social media officer, Jeremy Lipps.

“The point is that Caltrain is a very reliable transportation source,” Reisman said. “He was using wry humor and a little sarcasm to make that point.”

Who Owns Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad??? NOT Hunter Harrison

It is widely believed that Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad common stock is > owned 25.5% each by NS and CSX with the remaining 49% by CP. While the  CP figure is correct, the other two are not. In fact, IHB is still 51%  owned by Conrail, specifically Conrail Shared Assets. CSX and NS do not  own shares of IHB. However, CR is a behind-the-scenes owner. The CR  seats on IHB’s board of directors are occupied on a 50-50 basis by CS and NS executives (with CSX having the power to appoint IHB’s General Manager). who at CR’s behest provide governance and oversight of the railroad. Moreover, the contract worked out in the STB ruling of 1999  specifies that CSX and NS are to cooperate and vote in a bloc on all  issues before the board. Any differences should be ironed out in  advance of the vote so that a 51% majority opinion is always reached.
Otherwise the issue would go to binding arbitration, which neither CSX nor NS wants. The goal is to protect IHB’s “neutrality” in serving  railroads with terminals in the Chicago area.

I’ m writing this because I feel partly responsible for the commonly held  belief about (the non-existent) CSX and NS ownership. The home page of  my IHB Archive website said as much (I have since changed it). While  researching a book about the IHB, published in 2011 by Morning Sun, my co-author and I were told that CSX and NS were part owners by a high-ranking iHB official and his statement was corroborated by several other IHB employees. If it seems odd that these employees were wrong,
it should be kept in mind that they knew before the CR breakup that all shares were owned by CR and CP with executives from both on the IHB board. And so after the breakup, with executives of CSX and NS in place of the CR guys, it was only natural to infer that those railroads were the new owners. 99% of the time an inference like that would be correct; but here is the one per cent where it was not. Under the circumstances, I don’t blame any of them for the information they gave us.

For confirmation of IHB ownership, go here and scroll down to the IHB  section:

In addition, I have seen STB documents on this matter provided by Mr. Keith Robbins, a retired NS executive, who first called my attention to the ownership question. He has done some serious research into IHB ownership and history.

One consequence of all this is that Hunter Harrison, CEO of CP, was simply wrong when he said that a CP and NS merger would give the merged railroad majority ownership of IHB. Since NS holds no IHB stock, that  could not happen. Even if NS and CP board members jointly proposed such a thing, CSX and ultimately Conrail would surely object, and that would kill the proposal. Again, CSX and NS must act together for anything to  happen. Whether Harrison was lying or simply speaking from ignorance is
an interesting question.
> Mea Culpa
> Bill Gustason


Now for some history of the Harbor Belt