�Andy Hoff­man Bid/ask

▶ ▶ Ski lift mak­ers are look­ing to ur­ban trans­porta­tion for growth ▶ ▶ “A one-week in­ter­rup­tion isn’t ac­cept­able on a tramway”

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Markets/ Finance -

Other com­pa­nies look­ing for al­ter­na­tives in­clude Trafigura and Mer­cu­ria En­ergy, ac­cord­ing to ex­ec­u­tives who asked not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause they aren’t per­mit­ted to speak pub­licly on com­pli­ance is­sues.

It’s a tall or­der. Ya­hoo Mes­sen­ger is free and con­nects a huge user base within the oil world—from traders to re­fin­ery man­agers, pipe­line op­er­a­tors to har­bor mas­ters. Many in the in­dus­try even have their Ya­hoo IDS printed on their busi­ness cards.

“Ev­ery­body uses it, and you keep your Ya­hoo wher­ever you go,” says Olivier Jakob, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at con­sul­tant Petro­ma­trix in Zug, Switzer­land. A for­mer oil prod­ucts trader at Cargill, he says he’s had his Ya­hoo ID for “many, many years.”

While there are no of­fi­cial mar­ket share fig­ures, oil traders say Mes­sen­ger is by far the dom­i­nant plat­form and has been since the 2000s, be­fore tools such as Snapchat and What­sapp had taken off. Bloomberg LP, which owns Bloomberg Busi­ness­week, in­cludes an in­stantmes­sag­ing func­tion as part of its paid Bloomberg Pro­fes­sional Ser­vice.

Ya­hoo is mak­ing clear that it wants ev­ery­one to move to the newer ver­sion, which was in­tro­duced in De­cem­ber. “We en­cour­age all of our users to com­plete their tran­si­tion to the new Ya­hoo Mes­sen­ger as soon as pos­si­ble,” says Ana Braskamp, a spokes­woman. She also says, “It’s great to hear pos­i­tive feed­back around Ya­hoo’s legacy mes­sen­ger prod­uct.”

The sit­u­a­tion could cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for ri­val ser­vices or for some­one to cre­ate a plat­form spe­cific to the oil-trad­ing sec­tor. “The things that Ya­hoo chat of­fers are so im­por­tant to traders,” says Craig Pir­rong, a fi­nance pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Hous­ton. “The tech­nol­ogy is not that dif­fi­cult to deal with; it is just a mat­ter of co­or­di­nat­ing the tran­si­tion.” One se­nior ex­ec­u­tive at Gun­vor Group says he’s con­fi­dent a so­lu­tion will emerge. If not, he adds, traders will just have to pick up the tele­phone.

The bot­tom line Oil traders adopted Ya­hoo’s free chat ser­vice back in the 2000s. They may not be able to keep it for much longer.

Edited by Pat Reg­nier Bloomberg.com

For years, Nel­son Ledezma suf­fered through a two-hour com­mute by minibus from his home in the Bo­li­vian city of El Alto to his job in neigh­bor­ing La Paz. The ride was noisy, cramped, and un­com­fort­able as the buses nav­i­gated the traf­fic-clogged switch­backs on the roads con­nect­ing the two cities. Two years ago, though, the IT pro­fes­sional started com­mut­ing via Mi Tele­férico, a gon­dola sys­tem that cuts his travel time in half. “The bus driv­ers don’t care about their pas­sen­gers,” he says. “The gon­dola is safe, ser­vice is good, and the peo­ple are well-trained.”

Mi Tele­férico was built by Dop­pel­mayr Seil­bah­nen, an Aus­trian com­pany that is the world’s lead­ing maker of chair­lifts, aerial trams, and gon­do­las for ski ar­eas. Dop­pel­mayr and its pri­mary com­peti­tors, Italy’s Leit­ner and its French sis­ter com­pany Poma, are look­ing to cities for growth. Dop­pel­mayr has pro­vided gon­dola lines to La Paz that have logged al­most 50 million rides in the past two years; Poma has built ca­ble car lines in Colom­bia, Tai­wan, and Rus­sia. At least two dozen cities around the world are con­sid­er­ing build­ing gon­do­las or aerial trams for pub­lic trans­porta­tion, Dop­pel­mayr says. New York, Paris, Austin, and La­gos, Nige­ria, have all floated the idea. “Ur­ban mar­kets present a big op­por­tu­nity for us,” says Thomas Pich­ler, Dop­pel­mayr’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

By 2019 the sys­tem Dop­pel­mayr is build­ing in La Paz is slated to have 10 lines to­tal­ing 20 miles and serv­ing al­most three dozen sta­tions—at a to­tal cost of about $625 million, in­clud­ing var­i­ous im­prove­ments around the sta­tions. The first line opened two years ago, link­ing the city cen­ter at 12,000 feet with El Alto at al­most 14,000 feet and charg­ing just 3 bo­li­vianos (44¢)—a bit more than the cost

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