The world´s longest and deepest rail tunnel was officially opened in Switzerland, after almost two decades of construction work. The 57 km twin-bore Gotthard base tunnel will provide a high-speed rail link under the Swiss Alps between northern and southern Europe. Switzerland says it will revolutionise European freight transport. Goods currently carried on the route by a million lorries a year will go by train instead.
The tunnel has overtaken Japan´s 53.9 km Seikan rail tunnel as the longest in the world and pushed the 50.5 km Channel Tunnel linking the UK and France into third place.
Engineers had to dig and blast through 73 different kinds of rock, some as hard as granite and others as soft as sugar. More than 28 million tonnes of rock were excavated, which was then broken down to help make the concrete used to build the tunnel.
Now the completed tunnel, delivered on time and within budget, will create a mainline rail connection between Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Genoa in Italy. When full services begin in December, the journey time for travellers between Zurich and Milan will be reduced by an hour to two hours and 40 minutes.
The tunnel´s course is flat and straight instead of winding up through the mountains like the old rail tunnel and a road tunnel opened in 1980.
About 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains will pass through the tunnel each day in a journey taking as little as 17 minutes.
The tunnel is being financed by value-added and fuel taxes, road charges on heavy vehicles and state loans that are due to be repaid within a decade.
Swiss bank Credit Suisse has said its economic benefits will include the easier movement of goods and increased tourism.
CDP India Report: Cement manufacturers must innovate
Three Indian cement makers, among the top 12 producers of the building material in the world, have significantly reduced emissions, a report revealed by Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) said last month.
Indian companies, especially ACC, Ambuja and Shree Cement, have brought significant changes in order to meet the Paris Agreement objectives. The new report said that 12 cement companies - worth $120bn - have been warned that ¨significant innovation¨ is necessary in order to drive efficiency beyond current standards. The Carbon Disclosure Project India (CDP India) works with Indian companies to promote sustainable development and safeguard natural capital.
The cement industry, responsible for 5 per cent of global emissions, will need to deploy highly innovative product and process technologies to meet the Paris Agreement objectives, the report said. The report also highlighted that ¨forward-looking¨ companies will see emission targets expire within the next few years, with some companies facing an earnings hit of 144 per cent before interest and tax. ¨This is the first piece of major research to break down how major players in the cement industry are meeting the challenge of reducing emissions in line with the science called for by the Paris Agreement,¨ Tarek Soliman, Senior Analyst, Investor Research, at CDP said in a statement.
¨The climate leadership categorically demonstrated by Indian companies especially ACC, Ambuja (both part of the Holcim group) and Shree Cement underscores their world standing. With enabling policies, these companies will be able to continue their green governance which will be crucial as the country launches a massive infrastructure push in coming decades,¨ said Damandeep Singh, CDP India Director. Important findings from the report include:
The report recommends that in order to be consistent with the Paris Agreement, cement companies must increase their use of alternative fuel sources, implement thermal energy efficiency measures and use decarbonised substitute materials to a much greater degree.
Only three companies in the report have outlined plans for reducing their emissions in line with global carbon budgets (science-based targets) and other companies´ plans are not ambitious enough.
More than 50 per cent of cement facilities are currently located in areas of water stress and the report finds water scarcity to be a potential issue for the sector. In particular, it poses a significant risk to two Indian cement companies, UltraTech and Shree Cement, as well as other companies operating in the country where water shortages exacerbated by climate change may restrict growth.
Anhui Conch Cement (China), Siam Cement (Thailand), Dangote Cement (Nigeria) and Vulcan Materials (USA), which collectively represent over $60 billion in market capitalisation, did not respond to CDP´s 2015 climate change questionnaire and are therefore not included in this report.
Dalmia Bharat expects big business from Odisha
Dalmia Bharat launched two variants of cement in Odisha last month. The two national brands launched are - Dalmia DSP cement and Dalmia cement. The products will be available across 650 dealers and network partners in Odisha. Notably, Dalmia Bharat Cement, which manages OCL India Limited in the state, markets cement under the brand name of Konark. It has cement manufacturing facilities at Rajgangpur and Kapilas Cement Works in the state. ¨As Bhubaneswar strives to achieve the numero uno position as a smart city, we believe that Dalmia Bharat Group with its 75 years of expertise can act as a pillar of strength in creating a blueprint for tomorrow´s growth and prosperity in terms of infrastructure,¨ said Mahendra Singhi, MD and Group CEO.
OCL India Ltd inaugurates Bengal cement plant
OCL India Ltd, a flagship associate company of Dalmia Cement Bharat Ltd, has commissioned its Bengal cement plant in Godapiasal Industrial Park, West Midnapore. The inauguration was performed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and was attended by a number of dignitaries and members of the company´s management team.
The new plant represents an investment of Rs 615 crore, and covers an area of 154.43 acres. The facility will produce Portland Slag Cement (PSC) and Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC), in line with the company´s strict quality standards. The Bengal cement plant comprises state-of-the-art technology, including an ARL QUANT´X Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) spectrometer, Systronics Double beam UV Visible Spectrophotometer with graphic LCD, and AIMIL Mu Compression Testing Machine with automatic pace rate controller.
Eastern India accounts for 14 per cent of the country´s installed cement capacity and approximately 18 per cent of demand. The new plant represents the beginning of the company´s investment cycle in West Bengal. The group already operates two cement plants in the state, Cuttack and Rajgangour, which have a total cement production capacity of 5.35 million tpa. The new site will create both skilled and semi-skilled employment in the area and OCL intends to develop roads, bridges and health & educational facilities in the local community as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme.
Parth Jindal to take over as MD of JSW Cement
Parth Jindal, son of Sajjan Jindal, Chairman, JSW Group, has been appointed as Managing Director of JSW Cement. He will be assisted by Anil Kumar Pillai as CEO.
JSW Cement is among the top five companies short-listed for acquiring 11 million tonne of cement capacity put on the block by Lafarge, which is selling assets in India due to its global merger with Holcim.
The JSW Group scion started training with JSW Steel when he returned after his undergrad studies at the age of 22.
Back home, Harvard-educated Jindal worked in the human resources, legal and marketing divisions, and was entrusted with chalking out a strategy to turnaround the loss-making pipe and plate mills in the US.
A football freak, Jindal is a district-level table tennis player and was instrumental in conducting special programmes to identify and groom sports talent in the country for international recognition.
Shree Cement completes expansion of Aurangabad unit
Shree Cement has completed the expansion of its grinding unit at Aurangabad, Bihar, from 2 mtpa to 3.6 mtpa, last month. The announcement was made during market hours on 22 June, 2016.
Courtesy: Businesss Line, Business Standard, Economic Times, BBC