$8.4bn Melbourne-Brisbane Inland Rail project takes first shipment of steel
The long-awaited, highly anticipated rail project connecting Brisbane and Melbourne has reached a significant milestone after the first shipments of track steel were received.
Spanning some 1,700km, the $8.4bn project will require 266,000 tonnes of steel to complete, with this first delivery for 14,000 tonnes enough to cover a 60km section from Parkes to Narromine. Liberty OneSteel Whyalla Steelworks is providing the material.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Barnaby Joyce said: “This project is a game-changer for our regions, creating thousands of jobs nationwide, and returning $16bn to the national economy during the delivery phase and the first 50 years of operation.
“It will improve travel times for local farmers and producers, reduce the number of heavy vehicles travelling through small towns, and slash business costs for freight operators.”
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It is thought that the new line will bring journey times to under 24 hours once completed in 2024-25.
Construction works on the Parkes to Narromine section will commence once all necessary approvals have been received. Works will include reconstruction of the existing track, replacement of bridges and culverts, enhanced level crossings and crossing loops.
More information about the Inland Rail project is available at www.inlandrail.com.au.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.