Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2022.10.17]





BMW to shift UK production of electric mini to China
London: BMW will stop manufacturing its electric Minis in the UK and move production to factories in China, dealing yet another blow to Britain’s ambitions in battery-powered vehicles, the Times reported.
The German car manufacturer builds around 40,000 electric, Mini vehicles a year at its factory outside Oxford but will call a halt by the end of next year, the newspaper said on Saturday, citing an executive who leads the Mini brand. BMW plans to shift production of the electric vehicles to its joint venture in China.
Stefanie Wurst, the new chief of Mini, told the newspaper that the Oxford plant was running inefficiently by having to produce electric and petrol cars on the same line. She said the factory needed “renovation and investment” to build electric vehicles, with the old assembly lines stripped out. Still, there was no date for a return to the UK, she said, according to the Times.
BMW will continue to assemble internal combustion-powered Minis in the UK into the 2030s - predominantly for export to the US, Japan and the Middle East, according to the newspaper. However the electric Minis will be built by BMW’s joint venture partner Great Wall Motor Co Ltd. and at its plant in Leipzig.
Meanwhile, three-year-old Britishvolt Ltd., the UK’s attempt to develop a a homegrown electric-vehicle battery giant, is under threat as it seeks emergency funding. Bloomberg this week reported that the firm was considering selling its UK site. The Financial Times said the firm needs some Pound200 million ($223 million) to fund it until next summer and is holding talks with strategic investors.

Honda Vietnam sees slight increase in motorbike sales
Honda Vietnam sold 99,652 motorbikes of all kinds in September, a month-on-month rise of 0.9 percent.
Wave Alpha was the company’s best-selling model, with 21,597 vehicles, accounting for 21.7 percent of the total, followed by Vision with 20,400 units, or 20.5 percent.
In the first six months of the 2021-2022 fiscal year (from April to September), the sales of Honda motorbikes reached 835,572 units, down 12.9 percent year-on-year. However, Honda Vietnam still accounted for 80.8 percent of the Southeast Asian country’s motorbike market share, up 0.7 percent against the figure in the same period last year.
In the period, it exported 107,778 motorbikes to foreign markets, and earned 229.6 million USD from shipping completely built units and spare parts abroad.
In the auto business segment, from April to September, it sold a total of 7,316 vehicles, down 34.9 percent over the same period last year. Among Honda's auto products, the Honda City model was the bestseller with 2,934 units, accounting for 40.1 percent.

Emirates’ A380 touches down in Bengaluru, its second destination in India
Dubai: Emirates’ flagship A380 made a landmark touchdown at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport, it said on Saturday. Emirates flight EK562 took off on Friday from Dubai International Airport at 10:00 am and landed in Bengaluru at 15:40 pm local time.
The special service from Dubai to Bengaluru, arrived ahead of the launch of scheduled A380 services which will commence on October.
Earlier this year, Emirates introduced its flagship A380 services to Bengaluru, making it the second city in India to be served by Emirates’ A380 aircraft after Mumbai.
The daily A380 flights will operate as EK568 and EK569. The flight will leave the Dubai at 09:25 pm, arriving in Bengaluru at 02:30 am local time the next day. The return flight departs Kempegowda International Airport at 04:30 am, arriving in Dubai at 07:10 am (local time). Emirates also operates two additional daily flights utilising its other widebody aircraft, the Boeing 777.
“The special relationship that we share with Bengaluru and the State of Karnataka is one of mutual growth and prosperity and we are delighted to introduce A380 services to this vital gateway for travellers in South India,” said Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates. “Today’s flight is testament to the fruitful relationship that we share with the city and we look forward to providing the flagship experience across all cabins, for travellers travelling to and from Bengaluru, when we begin our scheduled daily A380 services later this month.”
“India is a vast market with high demand for our services to destinations across our network, and we are especially pleased to extend our A380 offering to include an additional point in the country.”
Currently, Emirates operates the A380 to over 30 destinations across the globe and plans to deploy the popular aircraft to over 40 destinations by March 2023.

Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor Group Announces Future Roadmap for Software Defined Vehicles at Unlock the Software Age Global Forum
SEOUL, October 12, 2022 – Hyundai Motor Group (the Group) today announced a new global strategy to transform all vehicles to Software Defined Vehicles (SDVs) by 2025. The industry-leading initiative, presented during the Group’s Unlock the Software Age global online forum, will deliver an unprecedented era of mobility, giving customers the freedom to remotely upgrade the performance and functionality of their vehicles anywhere at any time.
The Group also shared plans to transform the customer experience throughout the vehicle’s entire lifetime and deliver a new era of mobility via constantly evolving software technology.
Hyundai Motor Group’s constantly evolving mobility and software technology will ensure that all models, including those already purchased, remain up to date. This will enable vehicle functions, including safety, convenience, connectivity, security, and driving performance, to be upgraded via Over-The-Air (OTA) software updates. Based on the Group’s next-generation EV platform, integrated controller, and an internally developed Connected Car Operating System (ccOS), all Group vehicles will be equipped to receive OTA software updates by 2025.
The Group expects 20 million vehicles to be registered to its connected car service worldwide by 2025. Connected vehicles equipped with cutting-edge telecommunication features will create unprecedented value and possibilities and provide customers personalized services, such as software subscriptions.
Furthermore, connected car data will network with future Group mobility solutions, including Purpose Built Vehicles (PBVs), Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), robotaxis and robots. By establishing a new data platform, innovative services will be provided through connecting and processing the various data generated throughout the car life cycle, as well as promoting the creation of an open ecosystem in partnership with diverse industries such as logistics and accommodation.
The Group will also invest heavily in software technology to integrate hardware and software technologies and enhance and internalize mobility technology capabilities. By 2030, the Group plans to invest 18 trillion won in resources, including the establishment of a new Global Software Center to bolster its software capabilities and accelerate Software Defined Vehicle development.
“By transforming all vehicles to Software Defined Vehicles by 2025, Hyundai Motor Group will completely redefine the concept of the automobile and take the lead in ushering in a never-before-experienced era of mobility,” said Chung Kook Park, President and Head of R&D Division, Hyundai Motor Group. “Creating visionary vehicles empowered with the ability to evolve through software will enable customers to keep their vehicles up to date with the latest features and technology long after they have left the factory.”

SK hynix
SK hynix exempted from US export controls for 1 year
SK hynix, the world's second-largest memory chip maker, said Wednesday it has been temporarily exempted from the United States' export control measures and is allowed to continue normal production activities in China for one year.
The U.S. Department of Commerce allowed the chipmaker and its business partners to 'engage in activities necessary to maintain current production of integrated circuits in China for one year without further licensing requirements,' the company said in a statement.
The company's discussions with the U.S. government 'led to an approval to supply equipment and items needed for development and production of DRAM semiconductors in Chinese facilities without additional licensing requirements,' it said.
Last week, the Joe Biden administration announced a set of measures that restrict some exports of advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment to companies in China, in an intensifying rivalry between the two nations.
SK hynix currently operates multiple plants in China, including one in the eastern city of Wuxi.
Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chip maker, is also said to have been given the same temporary exemption, according to sources.
Samsung was not immediately available for comment.

Singapore Airlines, Tata discuss Vistara and Air India integration
Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) said on Thursday it was in talks with India's Tata Group about a potential merger of Vistara, their joint venture airline, with Air India to give the Singaporean carrier a bigger foothold in South Asia.
'The discussions seek to deepen the existing partnership between SIA and Tata, and may include a potential integration of Vistara and Air India,' SIA said in a statement.
It said no definitive terms had been agreed on a deal that would form a more formidable competitor to the country's dominant airline IndiGo as well as Middle Eastern rivals that carry a large share of India's international traffic.
SIA said India had strong domestic and international traffic flows that were expected to double over the next 10 years, which compares to its more mature home market.
The Singaporean carrier has a 49% stake in Tata SIA Airlines, which operates full-service carrier Vistara, while the Indian conglomerate owns the rest.
Tata owns all of Air India after completing its purchase of the previously state-owned Indian national carrier in January.
SIA, which was focused on repairing its balance sheet, did not take part in the bidding process, but Campbell Wilson, a former senior executive at the Singaporean carrier, started as Air India's new chief executive in July.
The Indian airline is rebuilding its fleet and targeting a domestic market share of at least 30% over the next five years as it looks to repair its reputation after years of losses.

Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways to hire 10,000 staff amid FIFA World Cup preparations
Qatar prepares to receive an estimated 1.2 million visitors during the month-long World Cup.
Image Credit: Bloomberg
Doha: Qatar Airways is boosting its workforce by 10,000 to handle an influx of passengers flying into Doha for the soccer World Cup and in line with a broader post-pandemic expansion, the airline told Reuters.
The Doha-based carrier is in the midst of a recruitment drive which will lift its total workforce to more than 55,000 from around 45,000 currently, a spokesperson, who declined to be named.
“Qatar Airways is on a growth trajectory following COVID and with World Cup preparations in full swing it is ramping up recruitment across the airline,” the company said in a statement to Reuters this week.
The airline declined to say how many of the new positions would be permanent. It cut staff levels to below 37,000 in 2021 after reducing its destinations to 33 cities during the height of the pandemic in 2020. It has since ramped operations back up to more than 150 destinations.
Recruitment events were held in the Philippines, India and other countries at the end of September, the spokesperson said. It is not yet clear how many of the new staffers will be in place when the World Cup kicks off on November 20 in Qatar, the first Middle East country to host soccer’s main event.
During the tournament, Qatar Airways is adjusting 70 per cent of its schedule to make way for additional flights arriving in Doha and has canceled other flights and reduced frequencies in order to free up aircraft to meet demand from fans. Other airlines will significantly increase flights to Qatar, which has reopened an old airport for the event.
“It will be a huge challenge to be able to manage this very fast moving demand for very large numbers of spectators,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker told reporters earlier this year.

Microsoft introduces 4 tools to empower creators
With Climpchap, creators can make professional-grade videos, without needing to be an editing expert, said the company.
Moreover, a new website called 'Microsoft Create' has been developed to help people create videos, graphic designs, documents, presentations and more.
The website brings together the content creation apps from Designer to Clipchamp to PowerPoint to Word and beyond.
'The 'Microsoft Create' website is live and available for anyone to use. We'll continue to build new functionality and content into the site over time,' the company added.
With 'Image Creator', content creators will be able to create images that don't yet exist.
Image Creator will let creators bring their ideas to life. Simply type in a description of something, any additional context like location or activity, and an art style, and Image Creator will make it for you, the tech giant added.

Dubai Internet City to host Intel’s AI software R&D hub
Dubai: The Dubai Internet City has bagged Intel as the latest addition to its collection of ‘innovation centers’. The US chipmaker will base its facility meant exclusively for AI software R&D at the Dubai hub.
“Because it’s for AI related research, it’s quite a futuristic solution and would fit in with the wider push the Dubai government has been making on robotics, Blockchain as part of the digital transformation,” said Ammar Al Malik, Executive Vice-President for Commercial leasing at Tecom Group.
Just as important is the fact that the Intel center will work closely with local academic institutions, thus creating a talent pool to draw on. “That’s the longer term goal – of building that talent pool within an innovative eco-system,” said Al Malik. “That means the Dubai Knowledge Park, the Media City apart from DIC – it all adds up, you see.”
For the record, this is DIC’s 15th innovation center, with Microsoft, Huawei, Oracle, Visa and Mastercard among the others. “The trend has been they would build solutions for the UAE and the region from Dubai Internet City,” said Al Malik. “It’s something that’s worked well for years.
“These innovation centers are part of the offices or regional headquarters of the companies. In that respect, we haven’t had to provide new land to build anew.”
Which sort of brings back a question that Al Malik has had to face quite a lot of these past years – ‘Is it time DIC decided to build a second hub having more or less used up all the available space at the original site?’
Al Malik gives a response that’s neither a Yes or a No. “Seeing the trends in the real estate market and the consistent demand Dubai Internet City has had within that, those decisions to build a new location will be taken at the right time. Everything has to be done right on any such decision.”
Tecom Group, which went through a highly successful IPO, remains one if Dubai’s leading landlords and owner of commercial real estate. Dubai Internet City launched in 1999 remains the flagship, and even with the ebbs and flows in the global and regional tech space, keeps drawing in tenants.
Intel will relocate AI experts from various offices to bring international tech talent and skills into the DIC community.
According to Taha Khalifa, General Manager for the region at Intel Corporation, “The launch of the center not only represents a milestone in Intel’s strategy to accelerate and align with digital transformation and economic diversification objectives, but is also a strong opportunity to collaborate across the region’s talented and growing technology ecosystem to help drive further AI innovation to fuel global solutions for many segments including healthcare, transportation and public safety.” to invest over 1 billion euros in European electric van, truck fleet
London: Inc said on Monday it will invest more than 1 billion euros ($974.8 million) over the next five years in electric vans, trucks and low-emission package hubs across Europe, accelerating its drive to achieve net-zero carbon.
The retailer said the investment was also aimed at spurring innovation across the transportation industry and encouraging more public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs).
The U.S. online retailer said the investment would help its electric van fleet in Europe more than triple from 3,000 vehicles to more than 10,000 by 2025.
The company did not say what percentage of its European last-mile delivery fleet is electric today, but said those 3,000 zero-emission vans delivered over 100 million packages in 2021.
Amazon said it also hopes to purchase more than 1,500 electric heavy goods vehicles - used for 'middle-mile' shipments to package hubs - in the coming years.
Although a number of large logistics firms - including package delivery companies United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx Corp - have committed to buying large numbers of zero-emission electric vans and trucks, there are still not many available for purchase.
A number of startups are racing to bring electric vans or trucks to market and are facing increasing competition from legacy manufacturers like General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co.
Amazon's largest electric van order is for 100,000 vehicles from Rivian Automotive Inc through 2025.
The company said that alongside EVs, it will invest in thousands of chargers at facilities across Europe.
The retailer said it will also invest in doubling its European network of 'micro-mobility' hubs from more than 20 cities today.
Amazon has used those centrally located hubs to run new delivery methods including electric cargo bikes or on-foot deliveries to cut emissions. The company plans to achieve net-zero carbon by 2040.

Netflix sets $7 monthly price for its ad-supported service
SAN RAMON, Calif. -- Netflix next month will unveil the first version of its video streaming service with ads, giving cost-conscious viewers a chance to watch most of its shows at a steep discount in exchange for putting up with commercial interruptions.
The ad-supported service is scheduled to debut Nov. 3 as Netflix tries to reverse a drop in subscribers. It will cost $7 per month in the U.S., a 55% markdown from Netflix's most popular $15.50-per-month plan, which is ad-free.
Netflix's ad-supported option will also be rolling out in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain and the U.K., according to a Thursday post by the company's chief operating officer, Greg Peters.
Besides putting up with roughly four to five minutes of ads during each hour of viewing, Netflix subscribers who sign up for the cheaper service also won't be able to download TV shows and movies to watch when their devices are offline. Peters also said a “limited' amount of programming available on the commercial-free service won't be on the ad-supported version because of licensing issues.
Netflix's 15-year-old streaming service has until now been commercial free, but the Los Gatos, California, company decided to head in a new direction six months ago after reporting its first loss in subscribers in more than a decade.
The customer erosion worsened a wrenching decline in its stock price that has wiped up more than $200 billion in shareholder wealth during the past 11 months. The shares rallied after Thursday's announcement, but still have lost about two-thirds of their value since reaching their peak last November when the streaming service was still growing.
Through the first half of this year, Netflix lost 1.2 million subscribers, leaving it with nearly 221 million. Management in July predicted it would regain about 1 million of those subscribers during the summer months. The numbers for the July-September period are scheduled to be disclosed Tuesday.
Netflix is betting the low-priced option with ads will be particularly popular at a time that persistently high inflation is pressuring millions of households to curb their spending, particularly on discretionary items such as video streaming. The streaming market also has become crowded with tougher competition from the likes of Amazon, Apple and Walt Disney Co., which also is preparing to offer an ad-supported version of its service soon.

Exxon Mobil
Exxon Mobil considers takeover of oil recovery specialist Denbury
Exxon Mobil Corp. is considering a takeover of Denbury Inc., an oil and gas producer with the largest carbon dioxide pipeline network in the U.S., according to people familiar with the matter.
Exxon has expressed preliminary interest in the Plano, Texas-based company, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. No final decision has been made and Exxon could opt against proceeding with a potential deal, they added.
Shares of Denbury jumped as much as 12% and traded at $98.83 at 3:49 p.m. in New York Monday, giving the company a market value of about $4.9 billion. A Denbury representative declined to comment, while an Exxon representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Denbury has more than 1,300 miles (2,092 kilometers) of pipelines in the Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountains dedicated to transporting carbon dioxide. Carbon capture is the bedrock of Exxon’s climate strategy, which aims to eliminate operational emissions by 2050, and buying Denbury would give the oil giant critical and hard-to-replicate infrastructure as it pursues that goal.
If the takeover happens, it would also be the biggest carbon-management investment since the Inflation Reduction Act passed in August, providing large tax incentives for burying carbon dioxide. The legislation increased tax credits for carbon capture 70% to $85 a ton. Executives including Exxon CEO Darren Woods have praised the act for its financial support for carbon capture, which Morgan Stanley says could be highly profitable in the future.
Denbury has the most aggressive net zero target of any large US oil company, aiming to be “carbon negative” on a Scope 3 basis, which includes customers’ emissions, by 2030.
The company is working with an adviser exploring a sale, Bloomberg News reported in August. Denbury, which exited bankruptcy in 2020, has used carbon dioxide to squeeze out more crude from old oil fields for more than two decades, a process called enhanced oil recovery. EOR became unfashionable during the shale revolution for its high cost and low volumes, but recently came back into vogue for its green potential, specifically the ability to store more carbon in the ground than is emitted from the resulting oil.
Earlier this year, Exxon pledged to spend $15 billion on lower-carbon investments through 2027, with carbon capture as a priority. Denbury’s Rocky Mountain assets are connected to Exxon’s Shute Creek gas facility near LaBarge, Wyoming, which has captured more carbon than any other asset in the U.S.

TotalEnergies and Sembcorp form LNG supply partnership in Singapore
French energy giant TotalEnergies has partnered with Sembcorp Energy Singapore, an integrated energy and environmental services player, to import a liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply strip in Singapore.
The agreement will see Sembcorp import an LNG supply strip from TotalEnergie’s global portfolio for five years starting in 2025.
“As LNG continues to play an important role in bridging the global energy transition, we are dedicated to working with Sembcorp to realize the transition”, said TotatlEnergies in a social media update.
The new agreement follows the latest milestone in TotalEnergy’s ambition to develop a global LNG bunker supply network and its commitment to support its shipping customers in their energy transition towards maritime decarbonisation.
To remind, TotalEnergies Marine Fuels held a naming ceremony for the Brassavola LNG bunker vessel in Singapore last week at Sembcorp Marine’s Tuas Boulevard Yard, marking a step closer to commencing TotalEnergies’ LNG bunkering services in Singapore.

Honeywell announces new ethanol-to-jet fuel technology
Honeywell International Inc will roll out technology that could increase supplies of lower-carbon fuel produced from ethanol, the company said, as per Reuters.
Honeywell's technology can increase production efficiency of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to lower costs. The airline sector is considered one of the most difficult to decarbonize as fuel cannot be easily replaced with other kinds of power. Oil refiners have been trying to increase production of SAF to try to lower emissions.
'As demand for SAF has increased, we've been looking at different ways to make more SAF economically that people can adopt and adopt at large-scale and produce to displace significant fractions of the jet and diesel pools,' Kevin O'Neil, senior business leader for renewable fuels at Honeywell UOP, said.
The company says, depending on the type of ethanol feedstock used, that its technology can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% on a total lifecycle basis compared with petroleum-based jet fuel. Ethanol is primarily made from corn in the United States.
SAF plants using Honeywell's technology can be modularized offsite, enabling lower costs and faster and less labor-intensive installation, the company's news release said. Through this approach, producers can build new SAF capacity more than a year faster than traditional construction, the release said.
The new technology would also enable oil refiners and other fuel producers to convert current or idle facilities into SAF production plants, it said.
In September 2021, the Administration launched an effort to boost output to at least 3 billion gallons of SAF per year by 2030 and have enough SAF by 2050 'to meet 100% of aviation fuel demand, currently projected to be around 35 billion gallons a year.' The recent Inflation Reduction Act, a climate bill that includes incentives for lower-carbon fuels, is also likely to accelerate demand for SAF feedstocks.

Gates Foundation
Gates Foundation pledges $1.2B to eradicate polio globally
BERLIN -- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says it will commit $1.2 billion to the effort to end polio worldwide.
The money will be used to help implement the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's strategy through 2026. The initiative is trying to end the polio virus in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the last two endemic countries, the foundation said in a statement Sunday.
The money also will be used to stop outbreaks of new variants of the virus. The announcement was made Sunday at the World Health Summit in Berlin.
The foundation says in a statement on its website that it has contributed nearly $5 billion to the polio eradication initiative. The initiative is trying to integrate polio campaigns into broader health services, while it scales up use of the novel oral polio vaccine type 2.
The group also is working to make national health systems stronger so countries are better prepared for future health threats, the statement said.
“The last steps to eradication are by far the toughest. But our foundation remains dedicated to a polio-free future, and we're optimistic that we will see it soon,” said foundation CEO Mark Suzman. Prevention.

JPMorgan profits fall; bank stores cash for coming downturn
NEW YORK -- JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s third quarter profit fell by 17% from a year earlier, as the bank set aside roughly a billion dollars to cover potential losses in an economic recession that CEO Jamie Dimon has said could come in six to nine months.
The nation's largest bank by assets posted a profit of $9.74 billion, or $3.12 a share, down from a profit of $11.69 billion, or $3.74 a share, in the same period a year earlier. The results did beat Wall Street's expectations of $2.90 a share, according to FactSet.
While the bank grew revenue and loans in the quarter, any additional profit it made compared to last quarter were erased by credit losses. The bank added $937 million to its loan-loss reserves, which is money banks set aside to cover potentially bad loans, in what the bank said reflects “updates to the Firm's macroeconomic scenarios.” The bank also charged off roughly $700 million in loans, up sharply from a year earlier.
“While we are hoping for the best, we always remain vigilant and are prepared for bad outcomes so we can continue to serve customers even in the most challenging of times,” Dimon said in a prepared statement.
The bank's trading desks had a mostly successful quarter, despite the market's volatility the past several months. Bond trading revenues rose 22% while equity trading revenues fell 11%.
Firm-wide, JPMorgan had revenues of $32.72 billion, compared to $29.65 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Continuing strikes at TotalEnergies group refineries in France are seriously disrupting fuel supplies
PARIS -- Continuing strikes at TotalEnergies group refineries in France seriously disrupted fuel supplies Friday after the left-wing CGT union rejected a deal over a pay increase that two other unions had agreed to.
Long lines of cars could be seen across France as motorists waited — sometimes for hours — to fill up. Many gas stations have temporarily closed while awaiting deliveries. About 30% of France’s gas stations are experiencing temporary shortages, with the Paris area and northern France most affected.
The CFDT and CFE-CGC unions, which together represent a majority of the group's French workers, agreed overnight to a 7% pay rise and a financial bonus. But the CGT rejected the deal, holding out for a 10% pay rise.
Strikers are demanding higher wages from what they feel should be their share of windfall profits generated by high oil and gas prices amid the global energy crisis aggravated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Total said in a statement Friday that in line with the majority agreement it will increase salaries for all its employees in France in 2023 by 7%, and called for end to the strikes at all its sites. The company also said it will pay out in December a bonus one-month salary — between 3,000 and 6,000 euros — to its employees around the world in an attempt to share its profits from high oil prices.
The CGT called for a nationwide strike on Tuesday across French industry, railway and other sectors to push for salary increases and to protest against the government’s intervention in the refinery strikes.
Separately, strikes at ExxonMobil’s Esso wing in France appeared to be over Friday after the CFDT and CFE-CGC unions reached a salary hike deal earlier this week.
The Minister for Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, said Friday she was hoping for a return to normality “as quickly as possible,” helped by government-ordered worker requisitions at two fuel depots in western and northern France.
The requisition orders aim at “ensuring that the French get out of that nightmare, that unbearable situation,” Pannier-Runacher said on LCI television.
But several Paris motorists seemed unfazed.
“It’s the French way of doing things,” said Jelena Tourkine, 45, about the disruptions and shortages in the Paris region. Tourkine said she was affected less than others because she drives a hybrid car, although she is getting nervous about finding a charging point if the strike stretches into next week.
Joachim Souza, 74, made a second attempt to fill up his tank after waiting in line for fuel all Thursday afternoon — only for the pump to dry up and shut down shortly before his turn. Despite queueing for two hours at a Paris gas station Friday, he showed understanding for the strikers.
“They are right to be on strike but I think the management has not made enough of an effort” to meet strikers' demands, the 74-year-old retiree said. “I was a boss once and I know that we have to share a bit.”