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Supply Side: Blume Global, Rio Tinto IOC, Wabtec

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
“Blume’s asset management solution is well established as the marketplace where IMCs obtain railroad-owned intermodal equipment,” Blume Global CEO Pervinder Johar said Sept. 11. “We look forward to helping CPKC expand their business in the U.S.”

“Blume’s asset management solution is well established as the marketplace where IMCs obtain railroad-owned intermodal equipment,” Blume Global CEO Pervinder Johar said Sept. 11. “We look forward to helping CPKC expand their business in the U.S.”

Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) will use Blume Global’s asset management system to foster intermodal traffic growth. Also, Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore Company of Canada (Rio Tinto IOC) is donating C$4 million to a Quebec college for a new training, research and innovation pavilion for the rail, industrial maintenance and energy intelligence industries; and Penn State names Wabtec Corporation as its 2023 Corporate Partner of the Year.

Blume Global 

Pleasanton, Calif.-based Blume Global on Sept. 11 reported that it will provide its asset management system to CPKC to help the Class I railroad increase visibility of its 53-foot domestic containers to Intermodal Marketing Companies (IMCs) in the United States.

“Blume is pleased to begin this new chapter in our long and successful relationship with the legacy Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern operating entities—now [merged as] CPKC,” the first single-line, transnational railway connecting Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, said Pervinder Johar, CEO of Blume Global, a WiseTech Global subsidiary. “Blume’s asset management solution is well established as the marketplace where IMCs obtain railroad-owned intermodal equipment. We look forward to helping CPKC expand their business in the U.S.”

“CPKC is excited about our agreement with Blume Global, which is a natural fit for customers seeking access to our expanded intermodal network,” said Ricky Stover, Assistant Vice President, Domestic Intermodal at CPKC. “This agreement will help position and prepare CPKC to efficiently meet our customers’ needs.”

In a related development, CPKC on May 11 kicked off daily intermodal service between the Midwest and Mexico with trains MMX-180 and MMX-181, which now link Chicago, Kansas City, Texas markets, Monterrey and San Luis Potosi.

Rio Tinto IOC

Rendering of the new pavilion for training, research and innovation at Cégep de Sept-Îles in Quebec.

Rio Tinto IOC on Sept. 14 reported that it will donate C$4 million over two years to Cégep de Sept-Îles in Quebec for the construction of its new pavilion for training, research and innovation in the railway, industrial maintenance and energy intelligence industries.

According to Rio Tinto IOC, which operates the 260-mile QNS&L Railway, the initiative is part of a long-standing collaboration with the local college, notably through the RAIL Center of Expertise, which the company said it supported in 2021 with an investment of C$750,000 and the donation of equipment for student training.

“The new partnership aims to strengthen Sept-Îles’ position as a center of excellence for specialized training in the railway and Industry 4.0 sectors,” Rio Tinto IOC reported. “Another important goal is to increase the visibility and promotion of these training programs in local Indigenous communities. To this end, a special cohort of IOC students will be formed to provide participants with employment opportunities immediately after graduation, fostering the full inclusion of all the region’s talent.”

Rio Tinto IOC President and CEO Mike McCann commented, “Since the 1950s, Rio Tinto IOC has been firmly rooted in the Sept-Îles community, and several generations of IOC employees have been trained at the Cégep de Sept-Îles. We are delighted to support this leading educational institution offering specialized training programs on Quebec’s North Shore, and thereby foster the development of a highly qualified local workforce.”

“Today [Sept. 11] marks a great day for the Cégep and our research units, as Rio Tinto IOC announces its largest contribution ever to an institution in our community,” Cégep de Sept-Îles Director General David Beaudin said. “For 70 years, IOC has helped shape our city, and today, by choosing to invest in innovation and the knowledge-based economy, it is upholding that immense legacy and demonstrating its confidence in the bright future of Sept-Îles.”

Wabtec Corporation

The weeklong Wabtec Girls Who STEAM camp at Penn State Behrend introduced middle-schoolers to career paths in science, technology and math. (Caption and Photograph Courtesy of Penn State Behrend / Penn State)

Penn State on Sept. 11 selected Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Wabtec Corporation as its 2023 Corporate Partner of the Year. The annual award, it said, recognizes corporate partners that have “demonstrated exceptional commitment in the promotion and support of Penn State, have excellent track records of philanthropy and research, and actively engage Penn State students and alumni in the workplace and the classroom.”

Wabtec in 2020 began its $1.5 million partnership with Penn State, encompassing energy management, battery technology and machine learning research, as well as professional and talent development over three physical campuses—University Park, Penn State Altoona and Penn State Erie, The Behrend College—and the online Penn State World Campus.

At Penn State Altoona, Wabtec’s support focuses on the Rail Transportation Engineering (RTE) program. It has donated locomotive and engine components as well as other gifts-in-kind of laboratory equipment, according to Penn State. Wabtec also provides funds for RTE students to visit its manufacturing facility in Erie, Pa. At University Park, the company has funded battery-storage research in the College of Engineering and has engaged with the Engineering Leadership Development Program, Penn State reported. Additionally, Wabtec has supported the Engineering Ambassadors, who conduct K-12 outreach, at University Park as well as Penn State Behrend. Wabtec’s partnership with Penn State Behrend also includes sponsorship of Wabtec Girls @ Penn State Behrend, a free week-long science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) camp for middle school students. The company served as the primary sponsor of Penn State Behrend’s STEAM Fair in February and provided funding to purchase a “Tech on the Go” mobile unit that allows the college’s Youth Education Outreach to take STEAM programming to K-12 classes that cannot visit campus. It has also supported engineering design coursework at the college, as well as Project RESOLVE.

According to Penn State, Wabtec has elected to use World Campus and the Engineering Leadership Development Program for the continued professional development of its workforce; 238 employees to date have enrolled in online programs, generating nearly $710,000 for World Campus. Additionally, nearly 350 alumni are employed at the company.

Previous Penn State Corporate Partners of the Year include Corning, the GIANT Company, Erie Insurance, Ernst & Young, Schlumberger, AB Volvo, United Technologies Corp., General Electric, Chevron, Toshiba/Westinghouse, Dow Chemical, Boeing, Highmark, PNC, Barnes and Noble, Lockheed Martin, and Bank of America.

“It is gratifying to see how the generous support from Wabtec impacts our programs, and also gratifying to see the reciprocal nature of that relationship in action,” Penn State interim Senior Vice President for Research Andrew Read said. “For example, through sponsored research projects, Penn State’s researchers were able to develop cutting-edge sensors that enable Wabtec’s locomotives to perform optimally and safely throughout their entire lifetime. Similarly, Penn State educators are helping to strengthen Wabtec’s own workforce through our professional development offerings.”

“Our long-standing relationship with Penn State affords us access to a world-class research institution, the next generation of innovators, and opportunities to collaborate on industry solutions,” Wabtec Vice President of Engineering Alan Hamilton said. “The partnership results in rewarding experiences for both our employees and Penn Staters. It also benefits the communities that Wabtec and Penn State call home.”

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