North China's coal-rich provinces and regions are gearing up production and shipping emergency supplies to the country's southern areas plagued by persistent blizzard.
Shanxi Coking Coal Group, a major producer in the northern province, has increased its coal production by 20 percent in the past few days. The coal currently makes up 60 percent of its total shipment, up from 40 percent during normal times.
Since Jan. 25, shipments of the coal have been multiplied by 200,000 tons by Taiyuan Railway Bureau. A total of 13,000 train carriages were loaded with the coal each day, 3,000 more than usual.
The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has produced 32 million tons of coal so far this month, four million tons more than the same period last year. Additionally, it has used two million tons of reserve coal to supplement stock at power plants in southern provinces.
Wang Liming, a Hohhot Railway Bureau official in charge of coal shipments, said 3.7 million tons of coal were transported via rail in January. Over the past five days, 180,000 tons were shipped daily.
Authorities said major railways in north China have all given priority to the transport of electricity coal. Shipment of other commodities, except grain, cooking oil, basic foods, fertilizers and refined oil, should all give way to trains loaded with the coal.
Most of China is currently in dire need of power amid severe disruptions caused by the prolonged snow, rain and cold weather.
Blocked roads and railways have hampered coal shipments on rail lines in the southern areas. Most power plants in the southern Guangdong Province, which has only two days of coal supply left, have resorted to shipping in emergency supplies.
About 4.5 million tons of coal is expected to arrive at the Guangzhou port from north China's Bohai Bay in a fleet of 125 cargo ships. Some of the vessels had canceled their international missions to assist in the shipment.
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2008)