He said that both countries have also achieved progress on a “returns agreement” which looks at deporting illegal asylum seekers who reach Australia. Speaking to the media in Colombo this evening Peter Vardos, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, said that Australia is working with Sri Lanka at various levels on the human smuggling issue. Vardos also said that both Sri Lanka and Australia hope to put together a working group to deal with the issue and in the meantime Australia will continue with its momentum in returning Sri Lankans who reach Australia illegally.Asked if he saw a shortcoming on the part of the Sri Lankan navy in patrolling the sea border which results in more and more Sri Lankans managing to reach Australia by boat, the Commander of the Australian Border Protection Command Rear Admiral David Johnston said that he was happy with the efforts of the Sri Lanka navy. A high level Australian delegation is in Sri Lanka to look at ways to curb boat people reaching Australia to seek asylum.The delegation had talks with the Navy Commander as well as the Ministry of Defence and other officials in Sri Lanka. He noted that the Sri Lankan navy has already managed to prevent around 3000 boat people from reaching Australia.The Australian delegation is to visit Trincomalee as well as areas used by the boat people to make the journey by sea to Australia.Report by Easwaran Rutnam
Energy efficiency, higher productivity and improved safety are the main benefits of a new Vale program. In 2010, the logistics department will invest approximately R$60 million to develop and implement innovative technologies in its heavy haul railroads – the Vitória-Minas (EFVM) and Carajas (EFC) railroads – and ports. These investments include new equipment to operate locomotives using remote control and ‘dynamic helpers,’ extra engines designed to couple with moving trains to help them up steep hills – never before used in Brazil.“We look for the best possible technology on the market to modernise our railroads and ports and, unusually for the industry, we adapt it to the specific characteristics of our heavy haul railroads,” explains Humberto Freitas, Vale’s Director of Logistics Operations.In order to operate locos by remote control, Vale is testing two sets of equipment on the Vitória-Minas Railroad (EFVM). The equipment allows drivers to leave the cab and carry out switching manoeuvres remotely, from a vantage point with a full view of the operation. The trials are taking place at the Engenheiro Bandeira and Ouro Branco rail yards in Minas Gerais, both on the EFVM. “Train drivers can manoeuvre without needing to talk on the radio with switchmen. The switching process is quicker,” explains Gustavo Mucci, General Manager for Rail Innovation and Development at Vale. By the end of the year, the company will have tested another two such systems on the same railroad. Total investment in the scheme is R$4.6 million.Vale’s has also invested R$9 million to develop an artificial intelligence system at Ponta da Madeira seaport in Sâo Luis, Maranhâo. The system enables all of the terminal’s stackers and reclaimers – used to move ore from the stockyard onto conveyor belts, which then take it to the ship – to be operated remotely. The system uses a software program allowing the machinery to be operated from the port’s control centre. Vale is the first company in Brazil to have equipped all the stackers and reclaimers at a port terminal with a remote control system.At the control centre, operators each have their own command terminal. As a result, when they need to operate a different machine, they only have to activate a command rather than switch to a different terminal. The terminals’ operational system and layout is the same as that adopted at major European ports such as Rotterdam. “Using cameras and sensors installed in the machines, operators can control the machines at a distance, from where they can see the stockyard as a whole,” says Freitas.