What's inter-provincial traffic like? And what role does e-commerce play in the guarantee of supplies?
Thank you for your question. First of all, as for the inter-provincial traffic, the operation of the national highway network is generally orderly. In order to implement staggered shifts and organize logistics and passenger services safely and in an orderly fashion, we have extended the "free travel policy" for minibuses from today to Feb. 8. At present, the guarantee and operation of the national road network is also good. Since the Spring Festival, traffic on the national highway network has decreased significantly. On Feb. 2, the total volume of road network traffic had decreased by nearly 80%, and the operation of the overall road network was very reliable. However, recently, in some provinces, the need for epidemic prevention measures such as the measurement of body temperature has led to local traffic congestion. The Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Public Security are coordinating with local transport departments and public security departments to strengthen traffic guidance. They are also working with health departments to increase the number of personnel deployed to measure body temperature and are using double- or multi-detection methods to alleviate traffic congestion.
Meanwhile, we also remind drivers not to occupy emergency lanes, and ensure the smooth transportation of important products and daily necessities such as medical supplies.
Overall, daily supplies are transported in an orderly way. Since the coronavirus outbreak, the Ministry of Transport, in accordance with the deployment of the State Council's joint prevention and control mechanism to respond to the epidemic, has worked hard to establish a joint mechanism with all provinces to ensure smooth transportation. The ministry aims to better resolve the issue of emergency transportation, and in particular to guarantee the transport of epidemic prevention and control materials, living materials such as livestock and poultry needed by Hubei province, as well as important materials needed for production such as electricity, coal and liquefied petroleum gas to the affected areas. Yesterday from 0:00 a.m. to 24:00 p.m., 17,000 vehicles carrying emergency supplies had gone through the green channels on expressways across the country. Of that total number, 8,362 vehicles carrying emergency supplies were driving along the expressways of Hubei province, and 2,625 were driving on the expressways around Wuhan city. The entire transportation system guaranteeing the efficient delivery of necessities and materials is working in an orderly manner.
I think the e-commerce aspect you highlighted is also very important. Under normal circumstances, the Spring Festival is usually an off-season period for express courier services. However, in order to combat the epidemic during the Spring Festival this year, the national postal department rallied postal and express delivery companies together. These companies tapped on their extensive transportation networks, quickly opened international and domestic routes, secured smoother land transportation, and ensured the transportation of emergency relief supplies and daily basic supplies to people in the key affected areas such as Wuhan. Enterprises such as China Post, SF Express, and JD.com also used their respective advantages to safeguard the basic needs of the local people during the Spring Festival. Subsequently, 13 large express delivery companies opened green channels for relief supplies. As of Feb. 2, China Post organized the operation of 32,000 postal vehicles and 5 special postal airplanes. The special planes transported 49,000 cases of epidemic prevention materials such as masks and medicines, which greatly eased the pressure on transport. Thank you.
I would like to add a few words. As you know, e-commerce, which features online transactions and offline delivery, is one of the most important ways that Chinese consumers now shop for goods and services. Since the coronavirus outbreak, online shopping can not only meet people's daily needs, but also reduce the risks of infection brought about by mass gatherings of people.
Since the outbreak, the Ministry of Commerce has galvanized 11 major e-commerce companies in China to play a unique role in guaranteeing market supply. The work has been done in the following three aspects.
First, we have actively boosted supply. As vice minister Liu Xiaoming said just now, several e-commerce companies, such as JD.com, Wumart and SF Express, have used their global supply chains to make cross-border procurements of face masks, protective gowns and goggles of which there was a dire shortage. Meanwhile, they have strengthened cooperation with upstream suppliers to encourage manufacturers to resume production as soon as possible to increase medical supplies. Consumers can now buy those much-needed supplies online.
Second, we have created smoother delivery channels. Coordination between e-commerce and logistics and delivery services has been strengthened, with a large number of deliverymen working round the clock on the front-line. During the Spring Festival, we made sure that online stores remained open and offline delivery services operated in a timely manner. In particular, a slew of e-commerce companies selling seasonal fresh food made full use of their pre-positioned warehouses and brick-and-mortar stores to make doorstep deliveries, which met people's daily needs.
Third, we have guaranteed shopping safety to avoid infection. A number of e-commerce companies have adopted a new "zero-contact" mode of delivery to improve safety during the delivery of goods. In this method, deliverymen will put the goods at a certain place designated by customers to avoid direct contact and reduce the risks of infection. This mode of delivery originated from Hubei province and has been popularized across the country. Thank you!