�Andy Hoffman Bid/ask
▶ ▶ Ski lift makers are looking to urban transportation for growth ▶ ▶ “A one-week interruption isn’t acceptable on a tramway”
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
The Panama Canal gets shipshape Lobsters hit the high seas (no swimming required)
E-bikes won over China. Is the U.S. next?