China’s railways increase coal transport to ensure supply
A worker shovels coal on a freight train in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province. (Photo by HU GUOLIN/FOR CHINA DAILY)

China has been ramping up its coal production since October to boost supplies and cool prices for the winter heating season, the country’s top economic planning body said Monday.

China’s average daily coal output hit 11.66 million tonnes from Nov. 1 to 5, increasing more than 1.2 million tonnes from the end of September. The maximum daily output reached 11.93 million tonnes, a record high in recent years, said a statement on the website of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The NDRC has urged coal companies nationwide to sign medium and long-term contracts for power and coal to stabilize the market. As of Saturday, all coal companies in 24 provincial-level regions had signed medium and long-term contracts.

As a tight coal supply eases, the fuel stocks of power plants are accelerating growth.

Since November, the daily coal supply to power plants has averaged 7.74 million tonnes. Power plants stored over 117 million tonnes of coal on Saturday, up about 40 million tonnes from the end of September.

Coal stockpiles at the Qinhuangdao port reached 5.39 million tonnes on Sunday, an increase of nearly 1.5 million tonnes from the end of September.

Coal prices will likely fall steadily in the future, with improving coal supplies and increasing storage at power plants and ports, the NDRC said.

China’s railways have worked to boost coal transport amid the country’s efforts to ensure the supply of energy for this winter and next spring, the China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. said Tuesday.

China’s railways sent 157 million tonnes of coal for power generation from Oct. 1 to Nov. 8, up 26.8 percent from the same period last year.

Due to improving coal transport capacity, coal stockpiles at 363 power plants were sufficient for 21.8 days of consumption on Monday, up 7.8 days from the end of September.

China has adopted measures to ensure the supply of coal for the winter heating season. Coal mines are encouraged to resume production, while rail and shipping companies are asked to fully tap their transport capacities and prioritize orders from power generators and heating suppliers.