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23rd February 2018

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Tim Kerwin new driving force at Glenbrook Vintage Railway

Tim Kerwin, a 30 year old born and raised in Waiuku, is the new General Manager for the Glenbrook Vintage Railway.
Tim has been at the Glenbrook station since he was ten years old and the station’s provided a lot of guidance for him. “I was a bit of a hell-raiser,” said Tim, “but I always wanted to be a train driver. I applied to Kiwi Rail when I was 17 and became a ‘shunter’ and worked my way up from there.” By the time Tim was 18 he was driving trains and was the youngest person in the Southern Hemisphere to do so.
Tim did 13 years work with Kiwi Rail before leaving to become the Operations Manager at Glenbrook Vintage Railway and now, three years on, is the general manager.
Tim wanted this role because he feels emotionally attached to the place. Reflecting on his life Tim says “Glenbrook Vintage Railway gave me a start. It provided so much guidance and everything I’ve achieved has been made possible through what it taught me.”
Tim now says that “the station is at a make or break point really. We either scale back what we’re doing or we build on it.”
In his new role Tim hopes to engage with everybody in the community and region. Tim says, “It’s a huge task really. Anybody can manage but to lead is a skill. The people around me are the assets and I’m just here to lead.” After the initial consolidation his aim is to provide a gateway to tourism. “We want to work with the region and engage with everyone to provide a real gateway to tourism,” said Tim.
Tim loves the ‘giving back’ feeling at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway Station. “There is nothing stronger than the heart of passion to volunteer. Nothing matches that. I get to live off people’s dreams which is pretty cool!”
Tim is also very conscious of future generations and their involvement with the railway station. The team has developed training to keep the younger generations interested and now, of all the people that volunteer at the station on a Saturday and Sunday, 60 percent are under the age of 35.
If anybody is interested in volunteering at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway they can contact Tim at tim.kerwin@gvr.org.nz or via the GVR website.

Trump to unveil $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan

WASHINGTON (AP) 12 Feb 2018 — President Donald Trump on Monday will unveil his long-awaited infrastructure plan, a $1.5 trillion proposal that fulfills a number of campaign goals, but relies heavily on state and local governments to produce much of the funding.

The administration’s plan is centered on using $200 billion in federal money to leverage local and state tax dollars to fix America’s infrastructure, such as roads, highways, ports and airports.

“Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and — where appropriate — tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit,” Trump said at last month’s State of the Union address.

Trump has repeatedly blamed the “crumbling” state of the nation’s roads and highways for preventing the American economy from reaching its full potential. Many in Washington believe that Trump should have begun his term a year ago with an infrastructure push, one that could have garnered bipartisan support or, at minimum, placed Democrats in a bind for opposing a popular political measure.

But the administration chose to begin with health care and relations with Democrats have only grown more strained during a turbulent, contentious year. The White House, now grappling with the fallout from the departure of a senior aide after spousal abuse allegations, may not have an easy time navigating a massive infrastructure plan through a polarized Congress. It just grappled with two federal government shutdowns and will soon turns its attention to immigration.

Administration officials previewing the plan said it would feature two key components: an injection of funding for new investments and help speed up repairs of crumbling roads and airports, as well as a streamlined permitting process that would truncate the wait time to get projects underway. Officials said the $200 billion in federal support would come from cuts to existing programs.

Half the money would go to grants for transportation, water, flood control, cleanup at some of the country’s most polluted sites and other projects.

States, local governments and other project sponsors could use the grants — which administration officials view as incentives — for no more than 20 percent of the cost. Transit agencies generally count on the federal government for half the cost of major construction projects, and federal dollars can make up as much as 80 percent of some highway projects.

About $50 billion, would go toward rural projects — transportation, broadband, water, waste, power, flood management and ports. That is intended to address criticism from some Republican senators that the administration’s initial emphasis on public-private partnerships would do little to help rural, GOP-leaning states

Early reaction to the proposal was divided.

Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, saluted Trump “for providing the leadership we have desperately needed to reclaim our rightful place as global leader on true 21st-century infrastructure.”

“When ports are clogged, trucks are delayed, power is down, water is shut off, or the internet has a lapse, modern manufacturers’ ability to compete is threatened and jobs are put at risk,” said Timmons. “There is no excuse for inaction, and manufacturers are committed to ensuring that America seizes this opportunity.”

But a number of Democrats and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have pushed the administration to commit far more federal dollars, funded by tax increases, or by closing tax loopholes. And environmental groups expressed worry about its impact.

“President Trump’s infrastructure proposal is a disaster,” said Shelley Poticha, of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It fails to offer the investment needed to bring our country into the 21st century. Even worse, his plan includes an unacceptable corporate giveaway by truncating environmental reviews.”

Ship and cargo causing a helluva stink for farmers

Federated Farmers is calling on the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to hold firm on a shipment which has been previously turned away from the Ports of Auckland.

The vessel, carrying motor vehicles from Japan, was deemed a biosecurity risk after the discovery of over 100 brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB).

As no port in New Zealand has the capacity to fumigate the ship, it has been subsequently re-routed to Australia.

“That ship and its cargo should not be allowed anywhere near our shoreline until we have assurances that it is comprehensively fumigated with all the marmorated stink bugs destroyed,” says Guy Wigley, Federated Farmers’ Biosecurity Spokesperson.

“The threat to our primary industries is significant and the implications are huge. It could damage our economy to the tune of hundreds of millions.

“This scenario is effectively akin to the Foot and Mouth disease of the crop world- it makes arable and horticulture farmers very nervous and we have to trust in our biosecurity measures.”

Federated Farmers intends following the situation closely and is anticipating that MPI will make the right decision, on whether the shipment should be permitted to dock in the future.

“The Federation considers biosecurity a top priority and we always advocate for strict enforcement,” says Guy.

U.S. Ports Take Baby Steps in Automation as Rest of the World Sprints

At the Port of Los Angeles’s TraPac terminal, a series of massive cranes effortlessly hoist a steady stream of brightly-colored container boxes—some weighing up to five tons—from the decks of newly-arrived container ships, depositing them dockside. From here, the robots take over.

Automated cargo-haulers towering four-stories high glide among the waiting boxes, straddling and lifting them before wheeling them to the nearby “stacks.” Here the boxes are passed off to another massive robot—an automated stacking crane—that arranges them into meticulous stacks. When it comes time for a specific box to continue its journey inland, those same robotic cranes will find it and load it onto a waiting truck—no human operator necessary.

TraPac terminal—along with a terminal at the nearby Port of Long Beach—is among the first U.S. ports experimenting with robots, artificial intelligence, and other digital tools to choreograph the complicated dance that keeps goods flowing into and out of major U.S. ports. The technology—though not without its critics—is widely seen as the most efficient way for seaports to cope with rising global shipping traffic and massive new ships that haul more and more containers. By digitizing and automating activities once handled by human crane operators and cargo haulers, seaports can reduce the amount of time ships sit in port and otherwise boost port productivity by up to 30% by some estimates.

The automated facilities at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—two of the nation’s busiest—are important proving grounds for technologies that have firmly taken root in European and Asian seaports but remains a relative rarity in the U.S. Only four U.S. seaport terminals currently use the technology. The other two, in Virginia and New Jersey, were the first in the U.S. to implement dockside automation. But while some of the world’s largest container ships make calls at East Coast docks, they rarely unload all of their cargo at a single port as they do on the West Coast.

That means West Coast shipping terminals are likely to automate faster than their East Coast counterparts, placing the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach at the front of a wave of automation needed to bring U.S. shipping logistics up to speed.

Doing so is not as easy as taking one facility’s automated systems and grafting them onto the next terminal, Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka says. “You’ve got probably 190 or 200 ports in the United States, you’ve got 25 ports of national significance as classified by the Army Corp of Engineers. Each one is different. Once you’ve seen one port, you’ve still only seen one port.”

Still, there are common components at every seaport where automation can make the work more efficient. Every seaport needs cranes to load and unload cargo, for instance, as well as a means of moving containers around the storage yard in an organized fashion so that specific boxes can be located at the specific time they are needed. These kinds of coordinating, organizing, and choreographing tasks are more efficiently handled by machines than by humans. It doesn’t hurt that robots and algorithms don’t require breaks, weekends, or health insurance.

For terminal operators, automation isn’t just about handling more cargo. Automated systems also allow seaports to boost the efficiency of one of their most limiting, finite resources: space. With only so much waterfront property to go around and the volume of cargo rising, seaports face a dwindling amount of real estate in which containers can be stacked and stored, even if only for a few hours.

“The real opportunity is densification,” says Dr. Asaf Ashar, an emeritus research professor at the University of New Orleans’ National Ports & Waterways Institute and an independent consultant for the shipping and transportation industries. “You can use existing land more efficiently.”

But automating seaports is also wildly expensive. The process doesn’t consist of any single thing, but a continuum of digital technologies, software systems, and robotic hardware. Deploying automation to any given port terminal can cost more than $2 million per acre, Seroka says. Upgrades to the Port of Long Beach’s automated terminal will cost in excess of $1.3 billion by the time the technology is all in place in over two years.

Automating the 210-acre TraPac terminal at the Port of Los Angeles will likewise cost more than $1 billion in public and private funds, and it’s not exactly clear when or if that investment will pay off. APM Terminals, a part of Dutch shipping giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk, told the Wall Street Journal that its automated terminal in Rotterdam—where terminals have embraced various levels of automation going back to the 1990s—has paid dividends, requiring just half the human labor that its conventional terminal at the same port requires. But when the same company opened the first semi-automated port in North America in Virginia in 2007, similar returns didn’t immediately materialize (APM Terminals has since sold the facility).

The high costs and shaky record of returns—not to mention pushback from labor unions intent on preserving seaport jobs—have left stakeholders in other U.S. ports leery of going all-in on dockside automation, allowing ports in Europe and Asia to become models of modern logistics. That in turn makes the experiments at Long Beach and Los Angeles all the more critical. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the No. 1 and No. 2 for container volume in the United States, respectively. In 2015, a total of 8.16 million TEU—the equivalent of 20-foot containers—moved into Los Angeles, while another 7.19 million TEU came through Long Beach, according to the World Shipping Council.

“Automation is a business decision and it really has to pencil out before any further work is pursued,” LA’s Seroka says. Making the math “pencil out” should grow easier as other digital technologies—artificial intelligence and big data analytics among them—are further integrated into the seaport enterprise as well. A pilot program currently underway at the Port of Los Angeles with GE—known as the Port Information Portal—digitizes maritime data and will ultimately create a computer dashboard that provides a window into the entire port supply chain. The test was recently extended to run for three years—a testament to the support the technology has garnered at the port, including from organized labor.

“With respect to digital technology, for cents on the dollar we can expand this port capacity,” Seroka says. “We can do it quicker than waiting for the current administration to work out an infrastructure plan, utilizing the land that is within inside our four fences, almost immediately.”

Hundreds of stranded tourists freed as roads reopen in New Zealand

Hundreds of tourists trapped in a remote New Zealand town for 48 hours after a strong storm damaged roads were freed on Saturday after authorities cleared a highway.

About 600 tourists are now able to leave the remote town of Haast, 426 km (265 miles) northwest of Dunedin on the west coast of the South Island, a world heritage area famous for rugged scenery, after the road was cleared.

State Highway Six reopened at 11 a.m., the NZ Transport Agency told Reuters in an email.

“All stranded motorists have now been able to leave,” it said.

The road was hit by landslips as wild weather from former tropical cyclone Fehi wreaked havoc across the west coast, uprooting trees, felling power lines, collapsing a bridge and blocking roads.

A further 117 motorists stranded at Fox Glacier were also able to move on Saturday after roads were repaired, West Coast Civil Defence officials said by telephone.

The storm flooded the southern city of Dunedin and the west coast town of Buller, forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency and ask people not to travel by road.

Health authorities warned people to avoid contact with flood waters that could be contaminated by sewage, Radio NZ said.

Weather forecaster Metservice said storm-damaged areas on the west coast of the South Island would get a reprieve on Saturday with sheltered, sunny weather before more rain arrives, while heavy rains were forecast for the North Island around Auckland.

 

Improvements for Southern motorway

The New Zealand Transport Agency is advising motorists of the lane changes on SH1 at Takānini and near Papakura, Auckland, from early February.

NZTA’s Senior Manager Project Delivery, Chris Hunt says there will be no lane closures, but the road layout will be different.

“Drivers are encouraged to drive with care as they get used to the new layout and keep to the temporary 80km/h speed limit through the active construction zones.”

The purpose of the changes is to improve safety and journey reliability on Auckland’s Southern Motorway by creating extra lanes.

Motorists will notice the lane changes from February at Takanini where a third lane is being added to the overbridge crossing on Great South Road. The two existing lanes will be split just before the Takanini off-ramp for 800-meters and will re-join south of Great South Road before the on-ramp.

“The new single span bridge will be more resilient and safer for motorists. Completing the work while also keeping the motorway operating will require careful planning and a staged approach,” says Hunt.

A temporary bridge for traffic heading south has been built alongside the existing bridge. Next month north and southbound lanes will be diverted to use the temporary bridge to allow demolition of the old northbound bridge to build a new one.

This process will be duplicated to replace the southbound bridge and once it’s completed the new bridge will have three lanes in each direction.

“In all, it will take three separate shifts of traffic over the next 18 months for the bridge work to be completed but no lanes will be closed. We’ll simply be shifting traffic lanes so work can take place on either side,” says Hunt.

“The Transport Agency asks motorists to be vigilant and patient during this time of change. The outcome will be improved safety, journey reliability and traffic flows on our main highway.”

Once the Southern Corridor Improvements project in 2019, it will provide an extra southbound lane on SH1 between Manukau and Papakura and an extra northbound lane between Papakura and Takānini.

NZTA tight-lipped over gorge

New slips on the Manawatu Gorge Rd. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

JAKE BELESKI

jake.beleski@age.co.nz

The New Zealand Transport Agency is staying tight-lipped about which way it will go when replacing the Manawatu Gorge Rd, but Labour MP Kieran McAnulty says those impacted the most have made their preference known.

The road was closed in April last year after major slips blocked the road, and the agency’s regional transport system manager Ross I’Anson estimated about 1000m3 of new material had fallen onto the road in the last couple of weeks.

A shortlist of four options for a new highway to connect Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu was released in October, with all options projected to take between five and seven years to complete.

Mr McAnulty said the message from communities in Tararua and Manawatu was that options three and four were preferred, with option four being the most popular.

“It was a strong message from the local communities, and I’ve been advocating for that.

“There is a strong preference for option four.”

Option four is to build a new road south of the gorge with a second bridge over the Manawatu River, connecting with the regional ring road in the Manawatu. It will cost between $450m and $550m.

That option was “significantly more expensive” due to the need for an additional bridge over the river.

Option three — a new route south of Saddle Rd at a cost of between $350m and $450 — was also a viable option, he said.

“They want more people moving to Tararua and commuting to Palmerston North, as people do from South Wairarapa to Wellington.

“There’s no reason why option three wouldn’t help with that either,” Mr McAnulty said.

Option four is also the preference of Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis and Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith, and that view was expressed to Transport Minister Phil Twyford and a transport agency representative at a meeting in Martinborough last week.

“People really want certainty, and a decision being made,” Mr McAnulty said.

“I’m having ongoing conversations with relevant ministers on how to support local businesses as they work through the process.”

Emma Speight, the transport agency’s director of regional relationships, said it was carefully considering all feedback and submissions.

“This feedback and input will be weighed up against the technical information for the four shortlisted options and the transport agency will be taking forward the option that best meets the needs of the region and provides a safe, efficient and resilient corridor.”

While progress was being made on assessing the four shortlisted options, the work was not yet complete, she said.

“NZTA is aiming to complete assessment of the shortlisted options, including how they support regional freight connectivity and future economic development, in the first quarter of 2018, with the announcement of a preferred option soon after.”

Mr Twyford confirmed at the meeting in Martinborough that the transport agency would make a public announcement in March.

Auckland Transport throws out its own plan

2 Feb, 2018

Auckland Transport produced this image of how light rail would look but ranked it so low it would not get funding. Photo / Artist Impression
Auckland Transport produced this image of how light rail would look but ranked it so low it would not get funding. Photo / Artist Impression

Comment by Simon Wilson

How embarrassing. The board of Auckland Transport (AT) has rejected the draft of its most important planning document, prepared for it by AT staff. The reason? The recommendations in the draft ignored AT’s own policies. They also ignored the policies of Auckland Council, which AT is supposed to answer to. And they ignored the clearly stated wishes of the new government, which has a say because it co-funds so much of the city’s transport programme.

Will heads roll? Unlikely, but possible.

It started last week, when AT published, under the signature of Shane Ellison, its brand-new CEO, the draft of its new 10-year plan. Nearly half the funding for commuter rail was gone, light rail was ranked so low it would not get any funding at all, and the cycling and walking budget was slashed by 90 per cent.

Cue immediate scrambling for cover. The chair of the AT board, Lester Levy, even rang the Minister of Transport, Phil Twyford, to apologise. Twyford tweeted: “I’ve had sincere apology from AT chair Lester Levy for internal ‘budget’ document mistakenly made public. The doc certainly doesn’t reflect my conversations with @phil_goff and @AklTransport board and our shared commitment to building a modern transport system for Auckland.”

Well, good. But this was not some simple “mistake”.

The document was a new draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP), which is written anew every six years and refreshed every three. This is a refresh year, although with Labour and the Greens determined to keelhaul National’s transport planning, the right time for a full rethink by AT is now. The document even says as much, although without doing it.

What did it get so wrong?

One, it ignored Auckland Council’s guidelines, which are also AT’s own priorities. Through a “Statement of Intent” agreed with council, AT has prioritised public transport, active transport (cycling and walking), road safety and carbon reduction. The draft RLTP just set all that aside.

Two, it ignored the government’s own signals. Twyford and associate minister Julie-Anne Genter, who looks after active transport and safety, have both been clear. In particular, they’ve told us light rail will be a priority and some of National’s expensive new roads (including the East-West Link from Penrose to Onehunga) will not happen. The draft RLTP, however, effectively pretended Twyford and Genter don’t exist.

Three, the draft wasn’t leaked or released casually. It was an official public document prepared for the AT board and posted online in what is usually a carefully managed process. Damningly, it was signed off by CEO Shane Ellison and two of his senior executives.

 

Four, it included a fabricated “introduction” from Levy. He didn’t write it, which isn’t uncommon, but nor did he see it before publication. That’s astonishing: who releases a statement by the boss without getting it cleared by the boss?

In a lengthy conversation on Wednesday, Levy told me he was especially upset about this and “I have made that very clear to the CEO”.

I asked him if it was humiliating to have to apologise to the minister. He said, “Yes. I spend a lot of my time having to apologise for things I didn’t know about. This is the job, and yes it is embarrassing.” (Levy is also the chair of Auckland’s three health boards.)

The offending draft had two main parts. One was what Levy calls a “narrative”: it described the work of AT in language very much in line with other recent AT documents and with the thinking in council and the new government.

“Our priorities actually align very well with what we know of the Government’s,” Levy told me, and he repeated that at the board meeting. “This government has got some great aspirations,” he said.

But the second part was a list of all the transport projects, both underway and proposed. It ranked them and recommended specific levels of funding for each. It was the guts of the document. Free of rhetoric and wishful thinking, it appeared to reveal what the officials who wrote it think AT should do.

When it got to the AT board yesterday afternoon, Cynthia Gillespie, head of strategy and one of the document’s signatories, attempted an explanation. AT has 320 projects it could be working on, she said. If they did them all, over 10 years they’d cost $19 billion. So obviously they’re not doing them all.

To help choose the best they have a “calculator”, a piece of software that assesses each project against a set of objectives. The calculator reflects the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), an agreement about transport priorities signed by the previous government and the previous council. Gillespie blamed the calculator for scoring light rail and cycling very low.

ATAP is now out of date and under review. And yet AT officials used it produce recommendations that would have suited the old government but were profoundly out of line with the new one, and with council, and with AT itself.

To the board’s credit, they threw them out.

Still, they had a problem. By law, AT must adopt a new draft RLTP, put it out for public consultation and sign it off by the end of June.

But the government will not produce its official transport policy statement until late March. If AT has to wait till after then to produce the new RLTP, the public input phase will suffer.

Board member Sir Michael Cullen saved the day.

“We are pretending we don’t know what we really do know,” he said. He listed various projects Twyford and Genter have said they want prioritised and added, “I don’t think it would be improper for staff to prepare a new draft RLTP that reflects what we can reasonably expect will happen.”

They will now write a new plan, in the expectation it will align with the government’s policy statement when it arrives. Which is what should have happened in the first place.

Meanwhile, Lester Levy still wants to know how all this happened.

I asked if he felt let down by some of the senior management. “I don’t know but I will certainly let you know when I find out.”

He also said, “We have given our new CEO a mandate to deliver culture change in the organisation.”

That’s very good to hear.

Norway is currently the world’s demonstration project for green transport solutions

January 24, 2018,  in TOI 

 

There is a technical revolution taking place today. Transport has broadly been run on liquid hydrocarbons the last 130 years. This is about to change. In the small country of Norway, every third new car sold is an electric vehicle and the world’s first electric ferry is crossing a Norwegian fjord 34 times every day. We are thus presently in the forefront of this change.

With just over 5 million inhabitants, in the big scheme of things we do not make much of a difference. But on the other hand, the biggest wave always starts with the smallest ripple. In Norway, the wave is gaining strength. Right now, India could look to Norway to see how green transportation solutions work in practice.

India is a big country. In every sense of the word. The Indian population is set to surpass China and become the largest in the world in the years to come. With a population of such a magnitude, many of India’s choices going forward will have global implications, also for Norway. It will come down to big countries like India, if this mounting wave will bring about the transformation in transportation that will save our planet and create business opportunities for all.

Illustration: Ajit Ninan

Norway is currently the world’s demonstration project for green transport solutions. We have the highest EV penetration rate in the world. Nearly 40% of new cars sold are EVs. Infrastructure, technologies and solutions are being developed, tested and assessed in Norway. Valuable lessons have been learnt from looking at customer behaviour. For example, the fear of running out of battery power, or range anxiety, has been highlighted as a barrier to EV uptake.

While many drivers experience range anxiety at first, this fear quickly subsides. In fact, only 4% of Norwegian EV drivers report having run out of battery power. Businesses and governments from all over the world are looking to Norway to gain insights into how the beginnings of a mass market for EVs functions in practice.

But how did Norway achieve this? It is the result of targeted and stable transport policies. Firstly, we have a clear goal of selling only zero-emission vehicles and buses by 2025. Secondly, we give tax exemptions to EVs and shift the tax burden to combustion engine cars instead. And thirdly, we invest in EV infrastructure, having built 8,755 charging stations – 1 per 21 electric or hybrid cars.

While the development of EVs are gaining attention, there is still little talk about transport on seas and rivers. Norway is a maritime nation with longstanding traditions of shipbuilding and offshore activities. We have been a global leader in pushing for higher environmental standards in shipping.

The Norwegian ship building industry and shipping industry is now taking steps to develop a new fleet of environmentally friendly ships. The new ships will use the same technology as an electric car but with a battery the size of a storage container, or a combination of battery power and liquid natural gas (LNG), or some other cleaner-burning fuel such as hydrogen.

Right now, we have the world’s first battery driven ferry operating a passenger ferry route crossing the Sognefjord in Norway. The power consumed by the MS Ampere for a single crossing of 6 km costs about Rs 400 – the equivalent of a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and yet it’s enough to transport 360 passengers and 120 cars.

For longer distances, ships fuelled by LNG are an important alternative. Norway has the world’s largest fleet of LNG ships. The environmental benefits are massive compared to diesel-fuelled ships – 30% lower CO2 emissions, 85% lower NOx emissions and absolutely no particulate emissions to pollute the air.

The number of vehicles on Indian roads is projected to grow from over 160 million to over 550 million in 2030. This begs the question: Will these cars run on diesel, or will they be electric? In order to service 390 million additional cars on the roads, new infrastructure must be developed. Will there be new gas stations built, or charging stations? For India and for the rest of the world, there is a big difference between these two choices.

There are certainly positive signs that India intends to go green going forward. An ambitious target has been set: 100% of new vehicles sold will be electric by 2030. We believe India should set a similar ambitious target for their shipping fleet.

In this country, you also have vast stretches of rivers and canals. The government’s focus on moving freight on ships on these inland waterways, rather than by trucks on the highways, could reap huge environmental benefits, both in terms of reducing local air pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Greening the Indian transport sector will boost India’s energy security by becoming less reliant on imported oil. Currently, India spends over $235 million a day on oil imports. Increasing the share of electrical vehicles, especially in the big cities, will also help reduce the lethal smog encapsulating many Indian cities every year. According to the renowned medical journal Lancet, over 2.5 million Indians die every year because of the toxic air.

While the wave of greener transport solutions is gaining momentum in Norway, we need the weight of big countries, like India, to make it a tidal wave. Norway is eager to support India in this endeavour.

Electric campervans, freight trucks and buses coming for ‘clean, green’ NZ’

A 58-tonne electric freight truck, electric buses and developing an electric campervan for tourism are among the initiatives to receive a share of $3.74 million from the Government.

Twenty projects were announced today in the latest round of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. The funding is being matched by $4.3m from the recipients.

A large proportion of the Government money – $1.7m – is for more charging stations nationwide, including at Foodstuffs supermarkets and golf courses nationwide, Fisher and Paykel stores, Wilson Parking buildings mainly in Auckland, and the Cloudy Bay vineyard in Blenheim.

Local authorities will also receive funding for charging stations in Taranaki, Waikato and the King Country.

“This is really about making sure we’ve got coverage around the country in terms of infrastructure,” Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said during the announcement.

“A big part of what we need to do to up the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand is to make sure we don’t have people stranded, running out of juice.”

Tourism Holdings will receive $402,000 to convert an electric van into a campervan, aiming to have 20 electric campervans on the road within a year.

“New Zealand sells itself to the world as a clean, green paradise,” Woods said.

“One of the things people will be attracted to is the ability to do their trip in a sustainable way. It’s got huge potential and it’s the way we want to sell ourselves to the rest of the world.”

The Motor Tourism Training Organisation will receive $95,000 to develop a qualifications framework for technicians working on electric vehicles.

There is currently no NZQA-registered qualification for this work, and Woods said the new framework will be critical in preparing the workforce for the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Electric freight vehicles also had potential to cut into domestic carbon emissions, and a $500,000 grant will go to CODA, in partnership with Zero Emission Vehicles and Bay Dairy, to design and build a 58-tonne electric freight truck for Fonterra.

The announcement was made at Zealandia eco-sanctuary in Wellington, which will receive $118,137 to replace its diesel buses with two electric mini-buses.

“It’s all about reducing emissions, sure, but it’s all about the liveability of our cities, the places where we live, and the healthiness of them,” Zealandia chief executive Paul Atkins said.

Woods said the funding was conditional until contracts are prepared and signed.

“The projects we are funding show there’s an electric vehicle for almost every job or use in New Zealand, be it delivering fruit and veg or taking a holiday.”

Labour’s coalition agreement with New Zealand First includes a promise to have the Government’s vehicle fleet, where practicable, emissions-free by 2025/26.

Woods said the progress of that work will depend on existing Government contracts.

Other funding recipients include:
• Evincible – $263,450 – to co-ordinate the rollout of a battery electric courtesy car and associated charging station for 25 automotive workshops, giving people the chance to test drive an EV while their car is being repaired or serviced.
• Tranzit Group – $397,500 – to invest in permanent drive-through charging stations for buses at the Wellington Railway Station bus interchange, capable of charging four buses simultaneously.
Ohomairangi Trust – $75,000 – to buy six EVs for its teachers, therapists and specialists to use visiting whanau.
Kerikeri Village Trust – $67,250 – to buy four EVs to establish a car share operation for use by residents and staff and install a public charging unit in Kerikeri.

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