Sunday, October 17, 2010

News In Brief - Uzbek Rail Freight - US Diesel - Pakistan Floods......

Snippets From Around The Globe in Bite Size Pieces
Shipping News Feature

UZBEKISTAN / TAJIKSTAN – Following our report in March it seems the Uzbekistan authorities have finally begun to allow freight rail cars into Tajikistan. The Uzbeki’s have been holding onto rail wagons bound for the Roghun Dam project since that time and one might detect an American hand in the negotiations as we reported in May.

Successful completion of the hydro electric project would see Tajikstan gain more energy independence but also offer a giant faucet enabling it to control the flow of water into its neighbours cotton belt. Uzbekistan relies on the Soviet built irrigation systems to produce its cotton crop, much of which is still harvested using cheap Tajikistan labour despite improper practices causing much of the country’s desertification.

US – Tuesday the 19th October will see the start of a two day conference ‘Clean Diesel 10’ in Washington D.C. on the success of cleaner diesel fuel with presentations and exhibits by top EPA, environmental and health officials, and industry groups on the significant progress the United States has made in the past 10 years to improve air quality through new clean diesel technology – and the goals for the future.

AUSTRALIA – The sale of QR National (Queensland Rail) continues to be the big story down under with sceptics doubting the response of investors, the stock is unlikely to produce instant returns, but many observers saying the company sell off will suit institutional money although private buyers may not be tempted by what is probably a long term bet despite the A$0.10 discount they’ll receive as against corporate investments.

Political considerations will be high on the agenda so don’t be surprised if the stock is sold off cheap to keep the private punters happy pre election but don’t forget that much of the current hype over the Asian Tiger development and China’s ever growing thirst for ore and coal has emanated from sources in Oz since this sale has been on the cards.

PAKISTAN – After the horrendous floods in the country the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are working towards getting the nation back on its feet. UNDP is a key UN agency on the ground in Pakistan helping in the response to the floods which have left a fifth of the country under water and affected over 18 million people. UNDP is currently developing a $100 million early recovery programme within the overall context of the UN response.

Priority areas will include revitalizing livelihoods through such means as cash grants and ‘cash for work’, rebuilding community and local governance infrastructure and vital public services and reducing risk the next time around. The aim is to provide support so that the economy can be rebuilt, community infrastructure can be repaired, livelihoods can be restored, and ultimately, people can get their lives back on track. The international shipping community played and is playing a vital part in the supply of emergency aid following the deluge.