News

Enjoy reading the most important industry news items happening within India and surrounding regions on a weekly basis.  Simply click the tab with the corresponding weekly news that you wish to read.  If you would like to submit your own news please email us at editorial@elevatorworld.com.  If you would like to keep up-to-date on international industry news on a weekly basis, sign up for our ELENET newsletter.

Week of 2/24/20

SUDDEN REVERSAL INJURES ESCALATOR RIDERS IN MUMBAI

Several people were hurt on February 17 when an escalator on the No. 3 platform at Andheri rail station in Mumbai suddenly reversed, causing riders to lose their balance and fall, the Times of India reports. A commuter who was on the escalator said in a tweet the incident occurred at 6:15 p.m. The unit suddenly reversed and ran in that direction until "someone pressed the emergency button." A Western Railway (WR) spokesperson said, "There was some issue with the motor's coupling system. However, the escalator stopped immediately after a series of other protections triggered in." But, a senior WR official said "the escalator began to reverse due to gravitational force after it stopped its ascendant movement, which should not have happened." WR has found 17 escalators that have the same problem and said that all would receive replacements for the motors that control their emergency braking systems. News site mid-day.com reported on February 20 that the incident has prompted inspections of more than 100 escalators serving WR and Central Railway suburban stations. The unit at the Andheri station was not expected to be reopened for several more days.

OTIS INDIA FACTORY EARNS IGBC GOLD RATING

Otis announced its factory in Bengaluru, India, received a Gold Rating from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). The program encourages green concepts and techniques in the industrial sector and requires factories to meet certain requirements relating to design, occupational wellness, indoor quality and conservation of water, energy and materials. Also recently recognized by Manufacturing Today with its “Excellence in Supply Chain” award, the factory has doubled its manufacturing capacity since opening in 2014, Otis India President Sebi Joseph said.

RESIDENTIAL TOWER TO REPLACE NORTH SYDNEY OFFICE BUILDING

A building that until late 2019 was home to technology company SAP is set to be demolished to make way for a 28-story luxury residential tower designed by Woods Bagot for developer Aqualand in North Sydney, The Urban Developer reports. With office occupancy rates at historic lows in the city, Aqualand, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based Shenglong, said it is confident the high-end residences at 168 Walker Street will sell. Sydney-based Aqualand said it has consistently achieved "record prices" at its other local residential developments.

KONE PARTNERS ON FINLAND’S EXPO 2020 DUBAI PAVILION

Finland's Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion, Snow Cape, will be served by KONE elevators and sliding doors, according to a press release about the 1,867-m2 exhibit’s recent topping out. The design by JKMM Architects blends the cultures of Finland and the U.A.E. with interiors inspired by Finland's icy landscapes and a floor-to-ceiling main entrance bringing to mind a traditional Arabic tent. Severi Keinälä, commissioner general of Finland at Expo 2020, said the national values of "happiness, a circular economy and innovations" will take center stage at the pavilion, scheduled for completion this summer. Up to 85% of the materials, including the KONE equipment, used to build Snow Cape will be recycled and repurposed after the expo.

CORONAVIRUS ASSESSMENT ON CHINA OPS, GLOBAL SUPPLY

Credit Suisse published an initial assessment of the coronavirus on Chinese operations and the global supply chain of companies under its coverage in Europe and the U.S., including elevator and escalator OEMs, on February 17. Following a survey of 100 small and medium-sized enterprises in China, Credit Suisse determined that roughly 30-60% of migrant workers have now gone back to top-tier cities. However, given the stringent quarantine measures, factories, excluding Hubei, have restored only 8-30% of their capacity, and a full ramp-up looks unlikely until the end of February, even under the most optimistic scenario. Local governments must generally approve factory reopenings, which are expected over the next two weeks. Credit Suisse estimates potential loss volume in China for local businesses at 20-25% in manufacturing and 50% for construction exposures in the first quarter. It also estimates a broader supply chain disruption based on an inability to import from China and component shortages. For example, a group with 10% China exposure and a global supply chain could see impact of 3-7% in the first quarter.

KONE WITHDRAWS BID TO PURCHASE THYSSENKRUPP ELEVATOR

KONE announced on February 17 it has decided to withdraw from discussions to purchase thyssenkrupp Elevator. The company said that, while it believes a combination of its business with thyssenkrupp Elevator would have been "strategically compelling," any acquisition it pursues "would need to come with terms and conditions that are in the best interest of its shareholders, employees and customers." thyssenkrupp said earlier in the month that a sale of its elevator business was "iminent," with analysts expecting the deal to fetch about EUR17 billion (US$18.44 billion). KONE's was one of four bids being considered, but sources reported that Schindler and, probably, Otis would have likely forced a lengthy delay of the deal through worldwide legislation, had the Finland-based vertical-transportation company won the competition.

Week of 2/17/20

KONE OPENS NEW WAREHOUSE IN INDIA

KONE Elevator India has opened a warehouse in Mumbai that will serve more than 2,500 customers and upcoming projects, ConstructionWeekOnline reports. The facility will stock more than 2,000 different parts for elevators, escalators and moving walks. “Our new warehouse reaffirms our commitment to our customers in India,” said KONE India Managing Director Amit Gossain. “Efficient supply of spare parts across our existing service network is imperative to complement our plan to increase our sales touch points.” He added that the company is well-positioned to support the growth that will come with a government push to develop smart cities and residential complexes.

SIX MORE ESCALATORS PLANNED AT INDIAN RAILWAY JUNCTION

Passenger access at the heavily used railway junction in Tiruchi, India, will be eased with the addition of six more escalators, The Hindu reports. The project is part of a plan to improve amenities at the junction, an important station in the Southern Railway zone. Work is underway on installing two previously approved escalators at one of the station's platforms, including the laying of a foundation and construction of a metal framework adjacent to a foot overbridge. The two escalators are onsite, ready for installation, in a project funded in the amount of INR24.8 million (US$347,836). The station has seven platforms, all connected to a subway. Plans include adding escalators to the remaining six platforms at an estimated cost of INR51.5 million (US$722,322). Work on those escalators will commence as funding becomes available. There are also plans to add three elevators at a cost of INR14 million (US$196,359). The Tiruchi junction handles more than 100 trains and nearly 50,000 passengers every day.

PETERS RESEARCH ANNOUNCES TRAINING DATES

Peters Research Ltd. has announced its ELEVATE elevator software training program for 2020/2021. Presented by Dr. Richard Peters, the regular sessions will take place in Great Missenden, U.K., on March 19, June 25 and September 10 this year, and March 18 and September 9 in 2021. New York will host seminars on October 21 this year. Other 2021 events are for November 25 in Singapore and November 29 in Sydney. Each of these days is followed by an advanced ELEVATE training seminar on the following day. Additionally, there will be a “Safe Working on Lifts” seminar on March 26, 2020, hosted by David Cooper in Great Missenden.

CAPE TOWN SIZZLES WITH MULTIPLE TOWERS IN DEVELOPMENT

Thirty-one developments, including the city's tallest tower, are under construction/completed (eight), in the planning stage (11) or proposed (12) in Cape Town, South Africa, representing billions in investment, SA Commercial Prop News reports, citing the Cape Town Central City Improvement District. Despite concern over high commercial vacancy rates, "forward-thinking" developers are bringing an array of remarkable mixed-use projects to the CBD. They include Harbour Arch, which seeks tenants to fill 200,000 m2 of residential, retail and office space within six towers; The Rubik, a 27-story mixed-use tower targeted for completion in 2021; the mixed-use Zero-2-One and Cullinan Square office block, which, at 148 and 192 m tall, respectively, are vying to become the city's tallest building; The Vogue, a mixed-use development that, at 21 stories, would be one floor shorter than Cape Town's current tallest, the FNB Portside building next door, and scheduled for completion by October; and The Modern, a 32-story "post-modern" structure offering apartments, hotel rooms and retail. Information about projects’ developers and architects is in the referenced article.

RESORT, CASINO TOWER TO INCLUDE SYDNEY’S TALLEST HOTEL

Scheduled for completion in early 2021, casino operator Crown Resorts' 72-story resort and casino tower, Crown Residences at One Barangaroo, will include the tallest hotel in Sydney, The Urban Developer reports. The multibillion-dollar development from Australia's Lendlease will have 82 apartments and 349 hotel rooms on the Sydney Harbour overlooking the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. At ground level will be publicly accessible restaurants, a spa and gaming areas. To focus on the upscale aspect of the property, Crown plans to offer table games only. The WilkinsonEyre design involves 8,000 unique, individually cut glass panels that allow floor-to-ceiling windows throughout.

REJECTION OF TRIO OF TOWERS IN NAIROBI UPHELD BY HIGH COURT

Cytonn Investments’ plan for a trio of glassy, stylish towers up to 35 stories tall in the Kilimani area of Nairobi, Kenya, has been shot down by the High Court, which upheld the Nairobi City Council’s (NCC) 2018 cancellation, Construction Kenya reports. Approved by the NCC in 2017, the development would have offered luxury residences, hotel rooms, office space and three levels of basement parking, along with the country’s highest suspended restaurant and infinity pool. Despite Cytonn saying it had addressed potential traffic and other issues, High Court Justice John Mativo stated “there was no evidence the NCC abused its powers under the law by canceling the multibillion-shilling project.”

Week of 2/10/20

NEW INDIAN METRO STATIONS TO HAVE LIFTS, ESCALATORS

The Maharashtra Metro Rail Corp., Ltd., has settled on four designs for 25 metro stations in Pune, India, Hindustan Times reports. The stations, planned for a 33.28-km stretch of the Reach I and II lines, will take on looks of nature, the iconic Mavala pagdi (turban) or large-scale industrial structures. They will be equipped with foot overbridges (FOBs) and include accessibility features. Metro officials also said the stations will be environmentally friendly, with such features as rainwater harvesting, solar panels, biodigesters and water plants. All stations will be a minimum of two levels and have elevators, escalators and FOBs to provide entry and exit to commuters. Designs for five underground stations on the line had not been finalized.

2M LAUNCHES ACADEMY WITH TÜV SÜD, STARTS FACTORY IN INDIA

2M Holdings, parent company of 2M Lifts and Escalators, has partnered with TÜV SÜD to establish 2M Institute for lift and escalator training in India, including the country’s first digital industry training academy, near its manufacturing facility in Kalady. 2M is also launching a factory in the Kanjikode industrial area — its first to produce escalators — with a capacity of 2,000 elevators and 500 escalators per year. The factory is set to be operational later this year. 2M is a major exporter of lift and escalator parts, manufacturing approximately 40 different parts at various facilities in India and partnering with manufacturers in Coimbatore, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad and Pune. More than 70% of its parts are exported to Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the Far East. Noorhul Ameen is director of 2M Institute, which will offer a six-month lift certification program.

400-M-LONG, 30-STORY BUILDING PLANNED IN NAGOYA, JAPAN

A group of four developers is planning a large-scale building in Nagoya, Japan, Japan Property Central reported on January 30. The mixed-use building, planned for a 28,000-m2 site in the area of the Nagoya Station, would be 400 m long and stand 30 stories. The site currently has a department store, a hotel and several other buildings. The development team consists of Nagoya Railroad, Kintetsu Group Holdings, Nippon Life and Mitsui Fudosan. Construction is targeted to commence in 2022, with completion expected seven years later.

CONSTRUCTION STARTS ON CHEVRON AUSTRALIA’S PERTH HQ

Construction has begun on Chevron Australia's new 29-story headquarters at One The Esplanade in Elizabeth Quay, Perth, getbusiness reports, citing the Western Australian government. Major Perth investor Brookfield Properties and Multiplex partnered with Chevron on the project, expected to create approximately 1,200 jobs during construction and yield 57,000 m2 of office space and ground-level retail upon completion in 2023. There will be space for roughly 3,000 workers, and Chevron, one of Western Australia's leading employers, will be the anchor tenant. With joint venture partners, Chevron recently helped Australia replace Qatar as the world's biggest exporter of liquified natural gas.

Week of 2/3/20

KONE SAYS IT HAS MADE BID FOR THYSSENKRUPP ELEVATOR

KONE has submitted a nonbinding offer to acquire thyssenkrupp Elevator, the Finland-based OEM announced on January 28, adding that its offer "is reasonably close to the value circulating in the media." Recent reports have valued thyssenkrupp Elevator, the German conglomerate's most-profitable division, at EUR15 billion-EUR17 billion (US$16.6 billion-US$18.9 billion). KONE said its bid "is based on certain assumptions about the business, and the terms of a potential binding offer could deviate from the current nonbinding offer." It said its interest in thyssenkrupp Elevator revolves around a "highly complementary geographical footprint of the businesses," in addition to other factors, including the potential that could arise from combining the companies' innovation efforts. KONE said its discussions with thyssenkrupp have been on a non-exclusive basis. Earlier reports said KONE may team up with private equity firm CVC, but the announcement made no mention of such a partnership. Other potential bidders have been named in previous reports, including several teams of investment firms and one other OEM, Japan-based Hitachi Elevator.

CONTROVERSIAL LONDON TOWERS APPROVED

According to Building Design, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick "has used his ministerial powers to approve the supersized version of PLP’s Westferry Printworks scheme – against the advice of a planning inspector." Former plans by client Westferry Developments for the Tower Hamlets, London, property were for a 722-home version of the scheme (worth GBP1-billion [US$1.3-billion], Architects' Journal reported), to be delivered in four towers of up to 30 stories on the 5-ha Isle of Dogs site, but revised plans submitted in 2018 added an extra tower, then were revised again to deliver 1,524 new homes in towers of 19-44 stories. Tower Hamlets has four more weeks to challenge Jenrick’s decision at the High Court, which may materialize from objections to the revised plans’ increased height and density, and lack of affordable housing.

ROMANIAN MALL MOGUL DEVELOPING OFFICE TOWERS

Romanian entrepreneur Iulian Dascalu, who owns Romania's largest mall portfolio, plans to build a 120-m-tall, 26-story office tower in the parking lot of Iasi's Iulius Mall, one of the first malls in Romania, Romania Insider reports. The fact the shopping center is adjacent to a large student campus makes it an attractive location due the availability of labor, the source observed. The Iulius Mall office tower is not Dascalu's first: that is a 155-m-tall office structure being developed as part of the Iulius Town project in Timisoara. When completed, it will become the tallest building in Romania, surpassing the 137-m-tall Sky Tower office building in Bucharest.

IT’S A GO FOR CONTROVERSIAL MANCHESTER TOWER PLAN

A controversial, 40-story mixed-use tower developed by former soccer players Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, along with other investors, is expected to start construction this year and be finished in 2023 in Manchester, U.K., Manchester Evening News reports. Neville and Giggs partnered with Manchester City Council and Singaporean investor Rowsley to form St Michael's Partnership, which announced it has tapped Laing O'Rourke as general contractor. In the works for at least six years, the original plan was for two, 29- and 39-story black towers by Make Architects and would have meant demolishing the Sir Ralph Abercromby pub and Bootle Street Police Station. The revised plan, by architect Hodder + Partners, will incorporate the façades of the historic structures into a "lozenge-shaped," bronze-clad tower with a hotel, 189 apartments and 163,000 ft2 for offices, retail and restaurants.

EW 2020 PHOTO CONTEST KICKS OFF

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2020 ELEVATOR WORLD Photo Contest, open to companies and amateur photographers. This year, a new category, “Hoistways,” joins the traditional ones: “Skylines & Tall Buildings,” “Elevators (Commercial),” “Elevators (Private Residence),” “Escalators/Moving Walkways,” “Industry Art/Illustrations,” “Machines & Components,” “Historical & Legacy Equipment (pre-1965)” and “Who Reads Elevator World?” The deadline for submissions is April 24. EW judges will first choose up to 20 finalists from each category. Those finalists will then be presented online during May, when readers will vote to decide the best of the best. Winners of each category will receive US$250 cash or the equivalent in Elevator World, Inc. educational products or advertising. Winners and runners-up from each category will be featured in the August issue of EW and highlighted online. More information is available here, and photos can be uploaded directly here.

HIGH-RISE PLAN SUPPORTED IN LONDON DISTRICT

A planned 27-story tower that is part of a project to bring 462 residential units to the Kensington district of London appears poised for approval, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat reports, citing MyLondon. The plan originally included a 22-story tower, plus seven other buildings ranging from 11 to 14 stories, but was rejected by Kensington and Chelsea Council in May 2019. Dutch developer Meyer Bergman, hoping to develop the large site at 100 West Cromwell Road, agreed to changes that include a larger proportion of affordable homes and an increase in the height of the tallest tower. Councilors have decided to encourage London Mayor Sadiq Khan to approve the plan.