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Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline no longer profitable: Watchdog – Al Jazeera English

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Canada’s contentious Trans Mountain pipeline is no longer profitable, a parliamentary budget watchdog has found, as the expansion project on the country’s west coast has faced years of delays, skyrocketing costs, and opposition from local communities.

In a report on Wednesday, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer said the Canadian government’s 2018 decision “to acquire, expand, operate, and eventually divest of the Trans Mountain assets will result in a net loss for the federal government”.

“Trans Mountain no longer continues to be a profitable undertaking,” it said.

The report also estimated the costs that Canada could incur should construction be halted and the Trans Mountain expansion be cancelled indefinitely, saying Ottawa could be forced to write off $11.1bn ($14.4bn Canadian) in assets.

The Trans Mountain expansion project has been troubled from the start, as environmentalists and Indigenous communities along the pipeline’s route raised alarm at the harmful effects they said it would have on the environment and their way of life.

Despite legal challenges seeking to stop the plan from moving forward, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended the project, insisting that it will create jobs and generate funds that can be used to help Canada transition towards greener energy.

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Trudeau’s government announced in 2018 that it was acquiring the expansion from its then-owner Kinder Morgan for $3.5bn ($4.5bn Canadian). The project was then approved in 2019, and construction is continuing.

Adrienne Vaupshas, a spokeswoman for Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, told the AFP news agency on Wednesday that the project is “in the national interest and will make Canada and the Canadian economy more sovereign and more resilient”.

She cited independent analyses from BMO Capital Markets and TD Securities that concluded the project remains commercially viable at the higher costs.

The pipeline’s sale, Vaupshas added, will only proceed after further consultations with Indigenous groups and the risks associated with it are reduced.

The expansion would nearly triple the capacity of the pipeline, which has been in operation since the early 1950s, to allow it to ship as many as 890,000 barrels of oil per day from the Alberta tar sands to the coast of British Columbia for export overseas.

Trans Mountain Corp (TMC) said in February that it expected to complete the work in late 2023. It also said the cost had increased to $16.5bn ($21.4bn Canadian), up from $9.75bn ($12.6bn Canadian).

Expansion of the Canadian government-owned Trans Mountain oil pipeline advances in Acheson
Environmentalists say the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will lead to ‘disastrous climate impacts’ [File: Candace Elliott/Reuters]

“The progress we have made over the past two years is remarkable when you consider the unforeseen challenges we have faced including the global pandemic, wildfires, and flooding,” said Ian Anderson, TMC’s president and CEO, said in a statement on February 18.

At the same time, the federal government said it would not spend additional public funds on the expansion. “TMC will instead secure the funding necessary to complete the project with third-party financing, either in the public debt markets or with financial institutions,” it said.

‘There will be no profits’

But environmentalists and other stakeholders said the increased costs were another reason for the Canadian government to cancel the expansion altogether.

“Trans Mountain never made any sense to build during a climate crisis,” Emma Jackson, a senior Canada organiser with environmental group 350.org, said in a statement in February.

“This is the moment to cancel this project outright and put all of our energy and political will into a just transition that leaves fossil fuels in the ground and supports people, communities and workers.”

On Wednesday, Julia Levin, national climate programme manager at Environmental Defence, echoed that, saying the project would cause “disastrous climate and environmental impacts” and harm Canadians.

“There will be no profits, only financial losses for Canadians and more carbon emissions for the planet,” Levin said in a statement.

“As the costs of the project keep ballooning, the government should cut its losses and cancel construction of the expansion pipeline – before even more of our dollars are wasted; public dollars that could be instead invested in developing sustainable energy systems.”

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Tesla to shut down production at Gigafactory Berlin to upgrade the factory and add a shift – Electrek.co

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Tesla is reportedly going to shut down production at Gigafactory Berlin in order to upgrade the factory and add a shift to achieve higher production capacity.

The top priority at Tesla is to ramp up production to catch up with customer demand.

The automaker is doing that at all its factories, but the ramps are more significant at Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas, which only recently started production.

Giga Berlin appeared to be doing relatively well thanks to utilizing the 2170 cells, which enables a battery infrastructure that Tesla is used to, and it achieved a production rate of 1,000 Model vehicles per week in June.

Giga Texas appeared to be falling behind since it had difficulties ramping up production of the 4680 battery cell and structural battery pack, but we reported that last week that the factory ramped up production significantly with Tesla starting to build Model Y Long Range with 2170 cells at the plant.

Now Tesla is looking for Gigafactory Berlin to catch up, and it will reportedly shut down the factory for about two weeks in order to upgrade it.

Germany’s Bild reported the news today:

According to BILD information, Tesla therefore wants to interrupt operations for two weeks starting next Monday. It is unclear how many of the 4,500 employees will be sent on vacation and how many technicians will remain to convert production.

The publication also says that the automaker will add a third shift and start producing electric motors at the factory instead of importing them from Gigafactory Shanghai:

According to employees, after the break in production, work should be carried out in three instead of two shifts. In addition, Tesla could then start manufacturing the drive in a neighboring hall.

While the upgrade could help, Gigafactory Berlin’s biggest bottleneck is reportedly its workforce.

Over the last few months, there have been many reports of Tesla having issues hiring and retaining employees. Some of them suggested that salaries have been a particular issue and the local union, IG Metall, was starting to get involved. But Tesla did increase salaries by 6% for many employees in order to address the concern.

It will require a significant hiring effort for Tesla to add a third shift at the plant after the factory restart later this month.


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Travel delays: Canadian airlines, airports top global list – CTV News

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MONTREAL –

Canadian airlines and airports claimed top spots in flight delays over the July long weekend, notching more than nearly any other around the world.

Air Canada ranked No. 1 in delays on Saturday and Sunday that affected 700-plus trips in total, or about two-thirds of its flights, according to tracking service FlightAware. It was more than 14 percentage points above the three carriers tied for second place.

Jazz Aviation – a Halifax-based company that provides regional service for Air Canada – and the lower-cost Air Canada Rouge both saw 53 per cent of flights delayed, putting them in the No. 2 spot alongside Greek regional airline Olympic Air.

On Saturday, WestJet and budget subsidiary Swoop placed third and fourth at 55 per cent.

On the airport front, Toronto’s Pearson claimed the No. 2 spot Sunday after 53 per cent of departures were held up, below only Guangzhou’s main airport in China. Pearson beat out Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and Frankfurt Airport in Germany.

Montreal’s airport placed sixth Sunday at 43 per cent of takeoffs delayed, on par with London’s Heathrow, according to FlightAware figures.

Air Canada said last week it will cut more than 15 per cent of its summer schedule, nearly 10,000 flights in July and August, as the country’s aviation network sags under an overwhelming travel resurgence.

Bookended by statutory holidays in Canada and the U.S., the weekend saw scenes of long lines and luggage labyrinths flood social media as airports across the globe grappled with the start of peak travel season following two years of pent-up demand.

Passenger flow at Canadian airports is already at 2019 levels during peak times, though closer to 80 per cent of pre-pandemic volumes overall, experts say.

“This is going to be with us all summer,” said Helane Becker, an airline analyst for investment firm Cowen.

“Almost every airline encouraged people to retire early or take leaves. And those people that retired early maybe don’t want to come back to work,” she saidof airline employees.

“It’s hard to rebuild off those lows.”

Some pilots have not yet had their licences renewed, while positions with groundcrews and baggage handling remain unfilled – or quickly vacated – due to low wages and stressful work conditions, unions say.

Government agencies have been on a hiring spree for airport security and customs, with 900-plus new security screeners in place since April – though not all have clearance to work the scanners – according to the federal Transport Department.

“The airlines also used the pandemic to eliminate aircraft types from their fleet, and to ground and retire their oldest aircraft. It’s hard to bring these aircraft back once you park them without doing a lot of maintenance,” Becker added.

“As demand continues to surge, we’re basically looking at an inability for the airlines to easily accommodate it. And I think that’s true worldwide.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2022

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High inflation likely to stick around, consumers and businesses tell Bank of Canada in 2 surveys – CBC News

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Canadian businesses and consumers think the current era of high inflation will persist for longer than they’d previously hoped, according to two surveys from the Bank of Canada released Monday.

The two reports — known as the Business Outlook Survey and the Canadian Survey of Consumer Expectations — are the result of the central bank’s quarterly polling of Canadian businesses and consumers for their outlook on what’s happening on the ground in Canada’s economy.

  • Have a question or something to say? Email: ask@cbc.ca or join us live in the comments now.

While the findings differed in a few ways, the dominant theme of both was inflation and the impact it is having on buying and selling, hiring and firing.

The main takeaway from the business survey was that most businesses are seeing higher sales than they were seeing earlier in the pandemic, as economic activity is returning to some sort of normal. But demand continues to outstrip supply across almost all types of businesses, which is both a factor of and a contributor to the high inflation currently plaguing the economy.

Nearly two-thirds of businesses told the central bank they are seeing labour shortages. Nearly half — 43 per cent — say they are experiencing bottlenecks in their supply chains, and they’re taking longer to resolve than previously anticipated.

Businesses expect Canada’s inflation rate to still be more than five per cent a year from now, and still more than four per cent two years out. But five years from now, the survey suggests they expect the inflation rate to come back to within the range the central bank targets, between one and three per cent.

It was a similar story on the consumer side. Long-term inflation expectations increased from 3.2 per cent to four per cent, while short-term expectations increased to 6.8 per cent, up from 5.1 per cent last quarter.

“Consumers clearly took notice of the recent [consumer price index] releases and the high prices for food and gasoline,” CIBC economists Andrew Grantham and Karyne Charbonneau said of the data. “Uncertainty around the evolution of inflation has increased.”

Wages set to increase

On the employment front, on average, business owners expect their labour costs to increase by 5.8 per cent this year. 

That’s significantly higher than the two per cent wage increases that consumers told the bank they were expecting.

“Workers do not anticipate their wage gains will keep up with inflation,” the bank said, adding that those in the private sector think their wages will increase this year by more than those in the public sector will.

Economist Leslie Preston with TD Bank said the survey shows just how big a concern inflation is in the minds of ordinary consumers.

“This survey suggests consumer spending in real terms is likely to slow in the coming months as wages can’t keep up with inflation, and households are already being forced to economize,” she said, adding that expectations of high inflation to come “is a source of concern for low-income consumers in particular, who are adjusting to high inflation by cutting spending, postponing major purchases, looking for discounts more often, and buying more affordable items.”

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