Caixin
BUSINESS & TECH

Rail Operator Continues Strong Performance

By Lu Bingyang and Mo Yelin
China Railway Corp. hauled 2.4 billion tons of freight over the first 10 months of this year, putting it on track to hit its 2017 target of 2.75 billion tons of freight. Photo: Visual China
China Railway Corp. hauled 2.4 billion tons of freight over the first 10 months of this year, putting it on track to hit its 2017 target of 2.75 billion tons of freight. Photo: Visual China

China’s rail operator is turning up the volume.

China Railway Corp. (CRC) said its freight volume rose 12.8% in the first 10 months of 2017, reversing a continuous decline that goes back to 2012.

Its freight volume for the January-October period totaled 2.4 billion tons, according to newly released data from the company.

The figure should make the year’s target of 2.75 billion tons easy to obtain, according to a source from CRC. “There is almost no doubt that this year’s result will exceed that target, which would make 2017 the first year of growth after six years of declines,” the source told Caixin.

For the first three quarters of 2017, CRC’s freight revenue was also strong, totaling 196 billion yuan ($30 billion), a 30% increase from the same period in 2016, while total income was 524 billion yuan.

CRC’s continuous momentum in its freight service may have been further boosted by an increased demand for coal transportation, as chilly temperatures caused an early start to the heating season in northern China.

The company has previously attributed the rebound to three factors: its improvement in providing freight services, China’s supply-side reform for industries such as coal and steel — which rely on rail freight — and recent government air-pollution campaigns that restrict coal transportation via roads.

Additionally, CRC’s net profit loss continued to narrow. The company’s net loss was 1.1 billion yuan ($167 million) for the first three quarters of 2017, an 80% decrease from the same period last year. In September, the rail operator said it posted its best performance ever and recorded the smallest net loss since it took its current form in 2013.

Passenger traffic also picked up in October, rising 11.6% over the same month last year to 275 million rides, driven partly by the week-long national day holiday at the beginning of that month.

Contact reporter Mo Yelin (yelinmo@caixin.com)

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