Honda confirms the closure of its Swindon plant in 2021

Honda confirms the closure of its Swindon plant in 2021

Japanese automaker Honda confirmed on Tuesday that it intends to close its Swindon plant in 2021, threatening around 3,500 jobs and striking a blow to the UK amid difficult Brexit negotiations. “Given the unprecedented changes affecting our industry, it is essential that we accelerate our vehicle electrification strategy and restructure our global operations,” said Katsushi Inoue, Honda boss in Europe. This decision was not taken lightly, and we deeply regret the trouble caused, he added. The Swindon site produces more than 150,000 vehicles each year, and exports to more than…

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AB InBev will turn residual alcohol from its 0% beers into biofuel

AB InBev will turn residual alcohol from its 0% beers into biofuel

AB InBev will convert part of the residual alcohol from its non-alcoholic beers into biofuel, the brewery announced on Sunday. It wants to continue efforts to make itself more viable. “Up until now, the alcohol that is extracted from the 0% beers after fermentation was considered residual waste”, AB InBev said in a press release. As three tanker-trucks containing a total of 75,000 of residual alcohol leave the brewery’s Louvain site every week, AB InBev wants to find “a more ecological and ambitious use for it”. AB InBev has signed…

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Orange announces delay in 5G rollout

Orange announces delay in 5G rollout

The 5G network will not be launched before late 2020 or even 2021 in Belgium, Orange reported on Wednesday on presenting its annual financial results. The auctioning of frequencies on the spectrum is not expected before the end of this year and could even be postponed beyond the earlier part of 2020, Orange CEO Michaël Trabbia said. The delay stems from the inability of Belgium’s federal and regional governments to reach an agreement how income from the auctions will be distributed, said the Orange CEO, noting that his company needed…

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British government cancels Ostend-Ramsgate ferry plans

British government cancels Ostend-Ramsgate ferry plans

The British government has cancelled a plan to install a new ferry crossing linking Ostend and Ramsgate, which was intended to relieve some of the pressure expected on the port of Dover in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Should the United Kingdom leave the European Union at the end of next month without adequate trade measures in place, British exports heading for the EU would have to undergo strict new import checks on the European mainland. The main crossing from Dover would be overwhelmed – a situation the Ramsgate-Ostend…

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Ultra-fast 5G internet goes on the back burner as regions and federal fail to agree

Ultra-fast 5G internet goes on the back burner as regions and federal fail to agree

The chance of Belgian internet users having access to the latest ultra-fast 5G technology by 2020 have virtually vanished, according to telecommunications minister Philippe De Backer, who blamed “a banal question of money”. A meeting of the concertation committee made up of representatives of federal government and language communities broke up without agreement this week, having failed to agree at their last meeting a month before. The question: how is the income to be divided up after the auction of 5G frequencies to internet providers? In the past, the carve-up…

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Economy ministry to investigate Albert Heijn 1+2 free promotion

Economy ministry to investigate Albert Heijn 1+2 free promotion

A price promotion being offered in the Belgian Albert Heijn supermarkets has sparked a wave of criticism and complaint, as competitors and authorities see it as the outbreak of a price war that risks being as serious as the one that took place in the supermarket’s Dutch homeland. Albert Heijn (AH), a subsidiary of Ahold, which also owns the Delhaize supermarket chain, is offering a three for the price of one offer on selected lines, including breakfast pastries, pistolets, iced coffee, Soubry spaghetti, McCain oven chips, canned tomatoes, cereal bars…

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Federal minister Bellot against STIB competing on the railways

Federal minister Bellot against STIB competing on the railways

Federal mobility minister François Bellot has spoken out against a proposal by the chief executive of the Brussels public transport authority STIB/MIVB to have Brussels trams operate on the rail network within the region. CEO Brieuc de Meeûs floated the idea last week in De Tijd newspaper while responding to an idea from the Green coalition in Brussels for the STIB to provide free public transport in the evening and at weekends. “When the European rail market is opened up in 2023, there will be routes on offer in the…

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A new ferry route from Ostend to the UK in the near future?

A new ferry route from Ostend to the UK in the near future?

A new ferry route between the West Flemish coastal city of Ostend and the port of Ramsgate in the English county of Kent could be just around the corner. The Mayor of Ostend Bart Tommelein (liberal) and the Alderman responsible for amongst other things the city’s port Charlotte Verkeyn (nationalist) have told the daily ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ that since their visit to Ramsgate in January progress towards launching the new service has speeded up considerably. The new ferry link was to have started up in March of last year. However,…

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Belgium supplies UK with a nuclear plant’s worth of energy!

Belgium supplies UK with a nuclear plant’s worth of energy!

Despite imminent Brexit and even the danger of a No Deal Brexit the first Belgian electricity supplies to the UK started last night. The supplies are being delivered via a cable along the bottom of the North Sea! Elia, the operator of the Belgian high voltage network, and Britain’s National Grid have been working on the project, the Nemo Link, for a decade. The Link is 140 km long and connects Richborough in the UK with Bruges. 130 km are in the North Sea. So far 628 million euros has…

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Consumer seems “ready to say goodbye to petrol or diesel cars”

Consumer seems “ready to say goodbye to petrol or diesel cars”

An iVox poll commissioned by the organization for environmental protection Greenpeace, unveiled Monday, seemingly presents Belgian workers as full of good intentions with regards to transportation, given that road transportation is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Greenpeace’s conclusion: Belgians appear to be “open to change”, on the condition, however, that the alternative to conventional transportation, by diesel or gasoline cars, is both affordable and accessible. The consumer seems “ready to say goodbye to petrol or diesel,” Greenpeace expert in sustainable mobility Joeri Thijs said. According to…

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