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News / Heathrow unveils £180m plan to double air cargo volumes over the next 15 years

first_img The UK’s most important air cargo gateway, Heathrow, is set to see a significant expansion of its freight handling capacity via an £180m investment announced today.Heathrow Holding chief executive John Holland-Kaye told delegates at a British Chambers of Commerce international trade conference this morning that the airport had drawn up a 15-year investment plan that would, effectively, double the cargo volumes moving through the airport.“Cargo is essential for UK PLC and Heathrow is its global freight connector, with 26% of all UK goods by value going through the airport,” he said. “This investment plan will significantly improve our cargo facilities and support British businesses to keep the economy moving, connecting exporters to the world and helping the government reach its £1trn export target by 2020,” he said.Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye And he argued that more pharma capacity would be needed at Heathrow.“Time-sensitive goods such as medicines rely on air freight transport and can’t realistically travel any other way. There have long been insufficient controlled-temperature arrangements to move pharmaceuticals – the proposed improvements to provide this and to accelerate implementation of e-freight is essential in halving door-to-door air cargo movements. These are vital steps to enhance the competitiveness of UK exports and to make Heathrow a world-class air cargo hub,” he said. Much of the plan revolves around redesigning the freight handling facilities at the “horseshoe” area of the airport, “to reduce congestion and smoother processes, all enabling freight to flow better through the airport and halving process time from eight-to-nine hours to four hours”.Plans include the improvement of air-to-air transit through the creation of a facility on the airfield, which will enable smoother handling of transhipment cargo that “arrives by air and is due to fly out by air”. This, Mr Holland-Kaye claimed, would shorten connection times from the current average of over six hoursHeathrow has also pledged to become 100% ‘e-freight ready and to build a new truck parking area with improved facilities for drivers.More contentious is the proposal to create a specialist pharmaceuticals storage area to support airlines moving high-value temperature-sensitive medicines, despite the fact that many in the local freight community say there is little demand for such a facility.The Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) director of global and European policy, Chris Welsh, said: “Heathrow’s planned investment and increased freight capacity is exactly the type of commitment that FTA has long been asking for. The significance of air freight is often overlooked, but today’s announcement illustrates that Heathrow Airport has listened very carefully to ourselves and the freight industry. The improvements it is proposing are essential to the growth and success of the UK economy.”FTA policy director Chris Welshcenter_img By Gavin van Marle 03/11/2015last_img read more

Drug shifts benefit stores

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita The patent losses come at a particularly fortuitous time for retail pharmacies because the industry is facing Medicaid cuts that analysts say will crimp profits. The new Medicare drug benefit is also expected to negatively affect earnings initially but opinions are divided about its long-term impact. “Without a doubt the generic benefit will offset what else is going on in the industry,” said Meredith Adler, an analyst at Lehman Brothers. Still, she doesn’t see the benefits from increased generic use outweighing the Medicare and Medicaid changes at least until 2008 for Walgreen or CVS Corp. Drugstores earn an average of $11 in gross profit per prescription on a generic drug, while brand-name treatments carry an $8.50 gross profit, according to Mark Husson, an analyst at HSBC Securities. Adler estimates that the average gross profit is $5 more for generics than for brand-name drugs. That’s because health care providers such as insurers and pharmacy benefit managers provide drug stores with financial incentives of good reimbursement rates to dispense generic drugs. They do that because using generic drugs saves vast amounts of money, as they are substantially cheaper than their brand-name counterparts. Also contributing to the higher profit margins are generics’ low acquisition costs and rebates manufacturers provide to the stores, according to a report by Scott A. Mushkin, an analyst at Bank of America Securities Physicians aren’t always aware that generic drugs are available so pharmacists often call doctors to see whether they would approve a switch. Such transactions cost money, which is one reason for the incentives, said CVS Corp. Chief Financial Officer David Rickard. NEW YORK – Often in business, one industry’s loss is another’s gain. As the pharmaceutical industry suffers through a period of extensive losses of patents on key drugs, retail pharmacies are reaping the benefit because they earn substantially more money dispensing generic medicines than brand names. Last week, Walgreen Co. said higher sales of generic drugs helped push its first-quarter profit up 5 percent, besting Wall Street’s estimates and increasing its stock price. Sales of generic drugs were driven higher by nonbranded versions of Sanofi-Aventis Group allergy medication Allegra, Walgreen said. Benefits from patent losses are expected to accelerate because the pharmaceutical industry entered a period of intense patent losses last year. Lehman Brothers estimates that branded drugs with total sales of $70 billion in 2005 through 2010 will face generic competition. This year, Lehman anticipates the industry will relinquish $11.8 billion in sales to generics as numerous drugs including two of the 10 top-selling drugs in the United States – Merck & Co.’s cholesterol pill Zocor and Pfizer Inc.’s antidepressant Zoloft – lose exclusivity. Zocor and Zoloft lose patent protection in June so Rickard said the benefit from those switches won’t really manifest themselves until late in the year with the primary effect coming in 2007. Lehman says the pharmaceutical industry will lose an additional $14.9 billion to generics next year, led by Pfizer Inc.’s blood pressure drug Norvasc. Cuts to Medicaid, the health program for the poor funded by the federal and state governments, are slated to begin in 2007 so the generic benefit is well-timed, Rickard said. He added that it is difficult to assess the full extent of the Medicaid cuts because drug stores might be able to negotiate higher fees from the states to compensate for losses in federal funding. Still, Rickard believes the boost in profits from generics will compensate for losses caused by Medicaid changes. Medicare, the program for the elderly and disabled, added a prescription drug benefit that began this year. Now individuals who were receiving drug benefits from Medicaid but are also eligible for Medicare will get their medications through the latter. Known as “dual eligibles,” they were automatically enrolled in a Medicare plan beginning Jan. 1 if they didn’t choose one. That’s bad news for pharmacies because Medicaid pays better than Medicare. Rickard said that will hurt profits in the first half of the year. However, he said as more individuals sign up for the drug benefit it should help profits. That’s because one-third of people picking up a prescription buy something else while in the store. “I think economically the Medicare drug benefit is good for the industry,” Rickard said. Adler doesn’t disagree with Rickard’s logic, but says the program is just too new and there are just too many variables involved in the program to deem it a positive yet. She estimated that the impact from Medicare and Medicaid would cost CVS 12 cents per share in earnings during 2007, while generics would add 9 cents to earnings per share. Walgreen will also add 9 cents per share from the generic benefit, but changes in the two government programs will cost it 10 cents per share. However, in 2008, the 16 cents of earnings per share Walgreen will earn from generics will be more than the 12 cents per share it will lose from Medicare and Medicaid. And the 16 cents per share CVS will earn from generics will outweigh the 13 cents loss per share from Medicare and Medicaid. “Without the impact from generics, things would have looked a whole lot worse,” Adler said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! 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Quebec City byelection a test for party leaders ahead of 2018 election

first_imgMONTREAL – With just about a year to go before the next provincial election, the leaders of Quebec’s political parties will be paying close attention to the results of Monday’s byelection in the Quebec City riding of Louis-Hebert.As their parties remain mired in minority territory in the polls, the byelection is a chance for the leaders to gauge their support, according to Concordia University political science professor Guy Lachapelle.Lachapelle says he was struck by how prominently the party leaders have featured in the candidates’ posters, ads and social media posts.“We rarely see that (to that extent),” he said in a phone interview.“Essentially, it might be perceived as a kind of evaluation of the leadership of the leaders of each party, and I think this campaign is essentially about that.”Ten candidates, including representatives from the province’s four main parties, are in the running to fill the seat that was vacated in April by longtime Liberal member of the legislature Sam Hamad.There are signs the election appears to be generating more interest than the usual byelection, according to a spokeswoman for Quebec’s chief electoral officer.As of Friday morning, 15 per cent of registered voters had already cast their ballots, which is considered high since many byelections only get 30 to 40 per cent turnout, Alexandra Reny said.The campaign has also been particularly active at the local level, according to Reny, who lives in the riding.“There’s been a lot of phone calling, posters, door-to-door. It’s a pretty lively byelection,” she said in a phone interview.The strong advance voting numbers could be because the riding has a history of high turnout, she suggested.It could also because the race is perceived to be close, with no party in the legislature enjoying clear majority support from the voting public according to polls.The election could be a chance for the Coalition for Quebec’s Future, which has been running neck-and-neck with the governing Liberals in recent polls, to gain momentum by scoring a win in a traditional Liberal stronghold.The party has strong support in the Quebec City area and will be looking to score points with voters turned off by the corruption allegations and scandals that have dogged some high-profile Liberals of late, Lachapelle said.Those include Hamad, who left cabinet in 2016 after he was connected to a former Liberal fundraiser facing corruption-related criminal charges.He left politics a year later despite being cleared by the province’s ethics commissioner.But while a win by any party on Monday will mean bragging rights for its leader, Lachapelle says it may not mean anything in the next general election.“Usually byelections are not very good to predict the outcome of future elections in Quebec,” he said.As an example, he noted the Parti Quebecois lost every single byelection between 1976 and 1981 before winning the 1981 election.The campaign in Louis-Hebert hasn’t been smooth for either the Liberals or the Coalition for Quebec’s Future, who both had to name new candidates after their first choices withdrew amid allegations of psychological harassment in their former workplaces.The Coalition’s new candidate is former coroner’s office spokeswoman Genevieve Guilbault, who has been described by leader Francois Legault as a contender for a cabinet post if the party wins the next election.Ihssane El Ghernati, a former aide to Hamad, is now running for the Liberals.The Parti Quebecois’ candidate is biologist Normand Beauregard, while lawyer Guillaume Boivin will represent Quebec Solidaire.The governing Liberals currently have 68 of the 125 seats in the legislature, compared with 28 for the PQ, 20 for the Coalition, and three for Quebec Solidaire. There are five Independent members.The next general election is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 2018.–With files from Louis Cloutierlast_img read more