Hill International secures $4bn India rail contracts
Global construction risk management provider Hill International has won two major rail contracts in India, amounting to $4bn of work.
The first contract is from Rail Vikas Nigam Limited and involves the provision of project management services that will see the doubling of the 120 km of rail line in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, situated in the north of the country.
Hill’s second contract comes in the east of India, and entails providing quality control and health and safety consulting for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor, a World Bank-backed project.
The American firm will be working in conjunction with the consortium of Italferr S.P.A and local consultant Vogue Construction and Consultancy Services for the related infrastructure for the 397 km Sahnewal-Khurja section and double line electrified railway track for the Khurja-Dadri link, which is around 46 km.
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Abdo E. Kardous, Regional President for the Middle East, said: “Doubling the Varanasi Rail Line and Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor are ambitious projects that present several technical challenges.
“However, Hill’s expertise and experience will be valuable in helping both undertakings achieve their goals and support the region’s ongoing growth.”
These two contract wins are the latest in a series of work which has seen Hill grow its presence in the fast-growing Indian infrastructure sector. Worldwide, Hill International has more than 3,000 professionals in more than 50 offices.
India’s economy is set to grow 7.3% in the 2018-19 financial year, according to BMI Research, which analysts are saying will result in increased funds for transport and other infrastructure projects.
Last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged $59bn to upgrading roads, rail and airport across India.
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
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.
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