Siemens, Alstom rail merger troubles the ACCC

The ACCC has expressed preliminary concerns about the proposed merger of Siemens A.G.’s (Siemens) Mobility Division with Alstom S.A. (Alstom), which are detailed in a Statement of Issues published today.
“A combined Siemens-Alstom would be by far the largest supplier of heavy rail signalling in Australia,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
The ACCC’s review has focused on signalling systems for heavy rail passenger networks, particularly train interlocking systems and automatic train protection (ATP) systems. Signalling systems provide safety and traffic management controls on rail networks. Interlockings are the core of a signalling system; they set routes for the safe movement of trains across railway lines. Train protection systems ensure that trains comply with movement authorities issued by the interlockings.
“The ACCC’s preliminary view is that the proposed merger may substantially lessen competition in the supply of heavy rail signalling systems for passenger rail networks in Australia, in particular interlocking systems and ATP systems. The loss of competition could result in increased prices for customers, or lower levels of service, quality, or innovation,” Mr Sims said.
“We have heard from many industry participants who have expressed competition concerns with the merger. We will continue to evaluate the competitive options available to passenger rail networks in Australia.”
The proposed merger is also being reviewed by overseas competition regulators, including the European Commission.
“The ACCC is liaising closely with overseas competition regulators, as some of these potential competition issues may also arise in other countries,” Mr Sims said.
The ACCC has invited further submissions from interested parties in response to the Statement of Issues by 20 September 2018. The ACCC’s final decision is due on 29 November 2018.
Background
Siemens is a listed German conglomerate headquartered in Munich. Its Mobility Division is one of eleven business divisions. Siemens acquired signalling supplier Invensys Rail in 2013 and Perth-based MRX Technologies in 2017.
Alstom is a French société anonyme listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange. In 2015, Alstom acquired GE’s signalling business.
Siemens and Alstom are both active in the rail mobility industry globally and each supplies rail signalling systems, rolling stock and rail electrification services in Australia. The key area of overlap between the parties in Australia is in the supply of rail signalling systems.

New sorting technology for NZ Post

Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (SPPAL) has equipped New Zealand’s largest mail sorting centres with new Open Mail Handling Systems (OMSs) for flats sorting.
The new OMSs at New Zealand Post’s Auckland and Christchurch facilities can process up to 25,000 magazines, flats, small parcels, letters and postcards per hour.
“The wide range of mail types it can handle combined with its fast sequencing and sorting processes are what makes the Siemens technology especially impressive.” SPPAL said in a statement. “Whereas open or plastic-wrapped magazines previously had to be separately routed to manual sorting, for example, the new system is able to handle these items automatically.”
Vanessa Ellis, General Manager – Network Transformation, New Zealand Post noted that the company is very satisfied with the systems, and the implementation of the project.
“Siemens’ high-performance technology enables us to process a very large range of mail types and formats processed in New Zealand, significantly enhancing our efficiency,” she said.
“The systems are connected to statistics software that allows us to monitor system capacity utilisation, providing a constant overview that lets us respond rapidly to changes.”
Michael Reichle, CEO, Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics, added: “We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to deliver our OMSs to New Zealand Post, a system proven worldwide that meets our customer’s high requirements in terms of efficiency, flexibility, ergonomics and customised solutions. The OMS is capable of processing a broader range of mail types and formats than any other sorting system on the market.”
New Zealand Post’s previously existing sorting machines will also be integrated into the overall system.

New sorting systems installed for AusPost

Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (SPPAL) has installed six sorting machines at four mail sorting centres for Australia Post.
The Open Mail Handling Systems (OMSs) were installed in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, where they will be used to sort flats, plastic-wrapped magazines and small packages.
They assume the tasks performed for years by sorting machines previously supplied by Siemens.
“We needed to update our existing equipment to handle the large variety of mail coming through our sorting centres, so we selected Siemens’ OMS technology to maximise the volume of product that could be processed through automation,” said Jadd Brammall, Head of Processing, Australia Post.
“The equipment was delivered on time against a very aggressive schedule and our new OMSs have enabled us to significantly improve our efficiency and provide the best platform for meeting the future needs of the business.”
Michael Reichle, CEO, Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics, added: “The OMS is our answer to the demanding requirements our customers have to meet, as it’s capable of processing a broader range of mail types and formats than other sorting systems on the market.”
Five of the delivered OMSs are equipped with four input lines and 284 outlets for mail trays and can each sort up to 50,000 items per hour. The sixth OMS is fitted with two input lines and 148 outlets and can sort up to 25,000 items per hour. Barcode readers and printers are used in all six systems.

Global industrial automation market to reach $80.6 billion

Analysts from Research and Markets have announced in their latest report on industrial automation that the global industrial automation services market was worth US$35.2 billion ($44.5 billion) in 2016 and is estimated to reach US$64.5 billion ($80.6 billion) by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6 per cent for the forecasted period.
Industrial automation involves automation of manufacturing, quality control and material handling processes, with control systems, information technologies and robots used to handle different processes in an industry. Various types of industrial automation include fixed or hard automation, programmable automation and flexible or soft automation. Project engineering and installation holds major share in this market. Advantages of industrial automation include increased productivity, improved product quality, reduced routine checks and improved operational efficiency.
According to the report, the US is currently at the head of the industrial automation market, followed by Europe. Asia Pacific (which includes Australia) is expected to be the fastest growing region in this industry. The reports says during 2015–16, US companies exported nearly US$10.5 billion worth of products to foreign markets.
Some of the key growth factors of this industry are the need for operational efficiency, rapidly growing SMEs, a growing inclination towards Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based automation, the growing demand for smart factories, mass customisation, supply chain synchronisation, integration of systems and increasing R&D and innovation in artificial intelligence and advancement in the M2M communication technology. High installation and maintenance costs and lack of trained professions are some of the constraints in this industry.
Major companies in this industry include Honeywell International, General Electric Company, Mitsubishi Electric, Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls, ABB, Samsung Electronics, Siemens AG and Schneider Electric. The report also pointed out that most of the regional and local vendors are vertically integrated. International players can grow by acquiring regional or local players.

Siemens to construct super efficient air cargo centre at London’s Heathrow Airport

Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (SPPAL) has been commissioned to install an air cargo centre at the international London Heathrow Airport.
International Airlines Group (IAG) issued the contract for IAG’s subsidiary British Airways.
Siemens is equipping a complete new cargo terminal, allowing the airline to profit from a substantial expansion of the existing air cargo capacities and an optimisation of complex cargo processes. The centre will contain with a’ fast-track facility’ – capable of processing particularly urgent air cargo in only 45 minutes.
“With our many years of experience and our in-depth knowledge of air cargo logistics, we will be able to help IAG strengthen their competitive position,” said Michael Reichle, CEO, Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics.
“We are proud to have held our ground for years as a major player in the highly contested air cargo business,” added Sarah Coulson, Head of Strategy and Business Development, IAG Cargo.” Premium solutions such as the ability to process air cargo at short notice will help us to successfully keep ahead of the competition.”
In order to enable fast cargo handling, Siemens has developed a streamlined operational concept which avoids long distances and supports optimal use of the area with a surface measuring just 11,30sqm. Siemens will install a sophisticated system consisting of four elevating transfer vehicles (ETVs) and four transfer vehicles (TVs). The scope of delivery also includes three truck docks for loading and unloading, and four conveyor lines for build-up and breakdown. The air cargo centre with a throughput of 135,000 tons per year will have over 110 positions for unit load devices (ULDs). Siemens will also deliver 54 special cold storage and deep-freeze rooms for perishable goods.

Oil price scaremongering

Reports inundating the press on soaring fuel prices are creating unnecessary angst and fears amongst investors, an expert told the AAP.

Platinum Asset Management Ltd managing director Kerr Neilson said sensational stories on oil were making fund advisors “mesmerised”.

“Everyone is worried about oil”, Mr Neilson told at an investment conference in Sydney.

“We tend to focus on the current hot topic – which for the moment is, say, oil – having previously stressed about agricultural prices, credit default swaps, bank solvency, whether there would be economic convergence.”

The crude oil price reached a record $US139.12 per barrel last Friday.

However, he said the undue focus on oil prices would result in a limited view on the market, constricting investment.

“Peripheral vision is very blurred as we face the pressures of immediate gratification and the apparent wisdom to stay with the in-crowd,” he said.

Mr Neilson predicted the next big market issue would be not energy or agriculture, but inflation and an appropriate risk valuation.

“We are exploring and finding interesting opportunities in all manner of areas and they exclude energy and resources, except for pulp and paper.”

In the infrastructure market, he said, investments in companies like Siemens and Bombardier, the world’s biggest rail infrastructure supplier, would be worth considering.

In the meantime, with petrol prices rising above $1.60 a litre, the median expected inflation level has increased to 5.9 per cent in June, the highest in 15 years.

According to the monthly survey conducted by the Melbourne Institute (MI), the proportion of consumers expecting inflation to fall reached its lowest point since June 2000.

MI research fellow Dr Sam Tsiaplias said contributing factors to the increasing uncertainty regarding inflationary expectations seemed to conflict with economic data, with March GDP growth and rising crude oil prices countered by soft April credit and retail trade figures. 

Schenker-Siemens alliance gets stronger

Schenker Australia and Siemens have extended their partnership, which will see Schenker taking on all Siemens Australia and New Zealand import and export activities.

Schenker has been providing logistical services for Siemens medical products and for large projects since the last 90s, and under the new contract its role will now encompass Siemens’ freight forwarding operations for import and export activities across Australia and New Zealand, including transport and distribution services throughout both countries.

Siemens chief financial officer Jeff Connolly said of the tenders received, Schenker was best placed to deliver a consolidated, time- and cost-effective international and domestic service.

“DB Schenker provides the optimal solution for Siemens freight services, with the ability to deliver some very challenging cargo, from an extremely large power-generation turbine, to delicate medical devices within very tight timeframes and cost effectively,” Mr Connolly said.

“Priority medical products have always been deliverable from Europe within just two days, but now this exceptional turnaround rate can be provided to customers for all priority products across Siemens three sectors – industry, energy and healthcare.”

He added DB Schenker also provided its customers with complete visibility throughout freight operations, with ready access to the online track-and-trace system and streamlined order and invoicing processes.

Schenker Australia CEO Ron Koehler said the new contract was the result of significant improvements in its supply chain over the last two years and a responsive approach to reducing the environmental impact if its freight services.

“We are proud to have been awarded the Siemens contract for import and export services across Australia and New Zealand, and will transfer solutions originally developed to meet the demands in the healthcare business, to strengthen and develop Siemens’ supply chain in other sectors,” Mr Koehler said.

He said in a bid to cut carbon emissions stemming from freight services, the company optimised the combination of transport modes and cut the use of paper in freight documentation and invoicing.

The two companies are developing an electronic interface, which will enable timely receipt and issuing of invoicing, with all related documents to be processed electronically.

© All Rights Reserved. All content published on this site is the property of Prime Creative Media. Unauthorised reproduction is prohibited

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
Close