Minnesota freight train derails, injures two
A freight train on its way to North Dakota derailed on Saturday morning, injuring two railroad workers and spilling corn and diesel fuel into a Minnesota creek.
Sixteen of the 17 Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight cars will be scrapped following the derailment. The cause of the derailment is being placed on heavy rains that caused a washout of the embankment supporting the railroad tracks on a bridge in Fridley, Minn.
According to a statement released on Saturday afternoon, Northstar commuter rail service between Big Lake and Minneapolis is expected to be out-of-service until Tuesday morning because of the impassable track.
The track is used to carry passengers into the Twin Cities area for morning and evening commutes and for Minnesota Twins baseball games.
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The only good news stemming from the freight train development is the limited damage the derailment caused. Because the accident occurred on a Saturday, there was far less commuter traffic than usual.
Each weekday, the Northstar trains carry about 2,400 passengers on 12 trips between Big Lake and Minneapolis. The average traffic on Saturday for six trips is 1,250.
Less than 10 hours after the BNSF freight train derailed, a commuter service was scheduled to carry passengers to a Twins baseball game, with the service expected to carry about 700 fans to the game.
The freight derailment was a close call, writes Chris Steller of FridleyPatch.com. With no deaths in the accident, those in the Midwest can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.