According to a report from the China Central Television (CCTV), China’s communications authorities have taken urgent measures to relieve the current coal supply shortage troubling many power plants.
Fu Jinxiu, a director from the Ministry of Communications (MOC) said that under MOC directives, the China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO) has recalled 11 cargo ships from overseas and used them to transport coal; the China Shipping (Group) Company (China Shipping) is now rebuilding four oil tankers for coal transportation, of which two have already been put into operation. These ships have a transport capacity of up to 900 thousand tons altogether, accounting for one third of China’s dry bulk transport capacity. They will effectively ease fuel supply pressures for power producers, the MOC stated. In addition, another six seagoing cargo ships from China Shipping have joined the coal transport fleet and will stay on the job indefinitely.
In light of the fact that the coal storage shortage is endangering some south China power plants, the MOC has mandated that every shipping enterprise first meet these plants’ needs and coal transport ships from these enterprises be given preferential terms for operation.
In addition, Chinese railway departments have promised to give the green light to all coal transports, given the meager amount of coal that the railways carry to power plants. Railways will ensure the supplies for the heavy coal-consuming areas that are difficult to access, for example, Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei and Sichuan. The railway authorities have added 100 coal cargo trains every day along major arteries, such as the Datong-Qinhuangdao Railway, the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway and the Beijing-Kowloon Railway.
Wang Yongping, a spokesman from the Ministry of Railways (MOR) said that the MOR has collaborated with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) regarding the coal supply matter; the MOR has put the coal transport as a high priority and it will convey as much coal as possible. As of the second half of January, the average daily amount of coal conveyed by trains increased by 5,000 carriages from the same period of 2007, he added.
While increasing the coal supplies, the NDRC has also forbidden any additional charges besides transportation fees during coal transport process, the MOR revealed. In addition, the MOR has dispatched special supervisory teams to its regional railway departments to make sure no additional charges occur.
(China.org.cn by Pang Li, January 26, 2008)