May 17, 2020

U.S. DOT Secretary LaHood travels to CA to talk rail

Supply Chain Digital
Department of Transportation
Ray LaHo
Freddie Pierce
3 min
Freight rail is becoming a hot topic inside the United States, where U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will travel to California to deliver his views on the subject
California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) and The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence (MANEX) announced that Ray LaHood, U.S. Transpor...

California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) and The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence (MANEX) announced that Ray LaHood, U.S. Transportation Secretary, plans to travel to Sacramento to deliver a keynote address to approximately 200 participants scheduled to attend a special complimentary one-day forum to connect rail industry OEMs with U.S. suppliers in the manufacturing sector.

The attendance of Secretary LaHood is a very strong indication that this event supports the future of the rail industry and its vital importance at the National and State level. As Secretary of Transportation, LaHood leads an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees the nation's air, maritime and surface transportation system.

The “Next Generation Supply Chain Connectivity Forum” will be held on Feb. 8, 2012 at the Woodlake Hotel (formerly the Radisson) in Sacramento, CA. Various speakers from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Federal Railroad Administration and CALTRANS will also participate in the event to bring together rail sector manufacturers/suppliers with key OEMs.

The Forum is for manufacturers who are interested in growing their business by considering opportunities in the rail industry supply chain. Panel Discussions for both traditional and potential new suppliers will take place followed by one-on-one meetings between OEMs and suppliers.

This Forum is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) to leverage existing agency capabilities to promote the development of a robust domestic supply-base to support intermodal transportation investment in the United States. This initiative is part of a broader opportunity of $782 million in grants that will pump new life into domestic manufacturing across the nation. The Northern and Southern California Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers, MANEX and CMTC, are supporting this event.

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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded two grants to CALTRANS for a total of $168M (matched by $42M in State funds) for the purchase of 42 passenger cars and 6 locomotives. The new bi-level railcars will incorporate numerous design improvements and innovations, making the States' rail passenger service safer, more reliable, efficient, cost-effective and attractive to passengers. The CALTRANS RFI can be accessed from CMTC's website.

“In this economy, it is vitally important for manufacturers to diversify their business into new areas to support growth in the State,” stated Jim Watson, President and CEO of CMTC. “Manufacturing plays an important economic role in the State's economy since California has the largest concentration of manufacturers in the nation,” added Hank Holzapfel, President and CEO of MANEX.

Edited by Kevin Scarpati

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Jun 21, 2021

Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight

BoringCompany
supplychain
freight
elonmusk
2 min
Elon Musk’s tunnelling firm plans underground freight tunnels with shipping containers moved on “battery-powered freight carriers”, according to reports

Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports. 

A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers. 

Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US. 

The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two. 

 

Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels

The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.

The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete. 

Tesla’s supply chain woes 

Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue. 

Elon Musk Tweet

Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely
 

Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany

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