Caixin
Dec 06, 2018 07:53 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

China Railway Corp. Signals Sustained Growth Ahead

A freight train arrives at the cargo yard of the Lhasa West railway station in the Tibet autonomous region on June 13. Photo: VCG
A freight train arrives at the cargo yard of the Lhasa West railway station in the Tibet autonomous region on June 13. Photo: VCG

The quantity of freight moved by rail in China is expected to increase by 9.6% to 3.2 billion metric tons (3.53 U.S. tons) this year exceeding targets, a top executive at China Railway Corp. (CRC) said.

That was 80 million metric tons more than the goal for the year, said Zhao Jun, the director of the freight division at CRC — the nation’s monopoly railway operator — on Wednesday.

Speaking at the National Coal Trade Fair in Hebei province, Zhao said coal made up almost half of the total freight moved, and was expected to increase 10.5% to 1.66 billion metric tons for 2018.

The volume of freight moved by rail increased for the first time last year after a sustained decline that began in 2012, and the momentum was forecast to continue.

The strong performance was largely the result of a ban on transporting coal, ores and steel by truck, which was implemented last year in some northern Chinese regions such as Hebei in an effort to tackle air pollution.

The policy has been a windfall for CRC. For the first three quarters, its income from cargo transportation services rose 11.63% to 218.6 billion yuan ($31.87 billion) — almost 30% of its total revenue — while net losses shrank 98%, to 27 million yuan.

CRC expects annual freight volume to continue to grow. Earlier this year, the company said it is targeting nearly 5 billion metric tons by 2020. Zhao predicted it would grow by around 8% to 3.5 billion metric tons next year.

The company has announced a series of measures such as building more lines reserved for cargo and ramping up purchases of trains, especially more powerful ones.

CRC plans to spend more than 100 billion yuan over the next three years to buy 3,756 locomotives and 216,000 freight cars to expand its transportation capacity, Caixin learned in July.

Contact reporter Mo Yelin (yelinmo@caixin.com)

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