China’s national railway network sent more coal for power generation last month to support the country’s efforts to ensure the supply of energy for the winter and spring, the national railway operator said on Wednesday.
According to China State Railway Group, the network sent 122 million metric tons of coal for power generation last month, a year-on-year increase of 25 percent and a 21 percent rise from September.
A total of 363 power plants that received coal supplies from the railway system stocked more coal last month than in September, the railway company said.
The system has been making efforts to boost coal transport capacity, including building a new mechanism and taking further advantage of the void left by fewer passenger trains.
The company has prioritized coal shipments. A daily communication system has been established in many places to connect railway operators, the National Development and Reform Commission with economic operation departments in various areas. The system aims to help them better understand the urgency of shipments and to help them coordinate with each other to solve problems quickly.
Dispatch centers have been established in major coal production areas and regions with strong needs, such as Beijing, Harbin in Heilongjiang province and Taiyuan in Shanxi province.
As some passenger train services have been canceled because of the emergence of COVID-19 cases across China recently, more freight trains have been arranged to send cargo, and the transport of coal for power generation has been prioritized.
Emergency plans have been provided to provinces and plants in strong need. Last month, the group offered targeted services to 64 plants in 12 provinces and cities, including the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Henan, as well as Tianjin.
The Ministry of Transport has also made efforts to transport coal and liquefied natural gas to ensure sufficient supply of energy.
Wang Yang, vice-minister of transportation, said at a news conference on Wednesday that a special working group to coordinate energy transportation has been established by the ministry.
The working group is on duty 24 hours a day to cope with emergencies.
Wang also emphasized safety inspection, especially in transporting coal and liquefied natural gas in extreme weather.
At an online news conference last week, ministry spokesman Liu Pengfei said it is requiring local transportation departments to study the need to transport energy and plan accordingly.
It also asked transport providers to build communication systems with key enterprises and will prioritize the arrangement of vehicles and vessels for energy transportation. Emergency plans have been prepared to respond to possible extreme weather, especially in the Bohai Sea region, he said.
According to the NDRC, China has seen a significant improvement in coal supply as production has expanded and prices have stabilized.
Coal stocks at power plants in the northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning have increased to exceed 12.7 million tons, nearly double the figure seen at the end of September. The stock could support 32 days of consumption.