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Rail freight volume recovered gradually in first five months
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14:33, June 17, 2009

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The volume of rail freight gradually recovered in the first five months of the year, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Railways (MOR). At present, the number of freight cars loaded per day is starting to return to the level reported in August last year.

From January to May this year, the nation's rail freight volume totaled 1.31936 billion tons, down by 63.57 million tons or 4.6 percent year-on-year, according to statistics released by the MOR's statistics center. In May, volume totaled 278.05 million tons, down 7.46 million tons or 2.6 percent year-on-year. Compared with the previous month however, daily freight volume increased by an average of 70,000 tons, or 0.7 percent.

The narrowed decline in rail freight volume and month-on-month increases indicate that production activity in the manufacturing industry is gradually recovering.

MOR data from June 14 showed that 144,168 freight cars had been loaded that day. Of that, state-owned railways reported 121,912 freight cars loaded, an increase of 2,912 year-on-year. The number of freight cars loaded has returned to the level reported in August last year before the international financial crisis hit.

In terms of the freight categories, transport of bulk cargo, such as coal, fertilizer, grain and pesticide, showed a faster rebound. With summer approaching, it will be a peak season for coal transport demand.

Having stabilized during the first four months of the year, coal transport volume showed a marked growth in May to reach 147.29 million tons, up 4.3 percent year-on-year. It is the first month this year to record year-on-year growth.

Of these figures, the transport volume of coal for power generation totaled 86.53 million tons. Although this is a 3.4 percent decrease year-on-year, the decrease is 15.2 percentage points less than the average level during the first four months, showing a noticeable trend of recovery.

Rail freight transport remains in a downward trend however. In May, total freight transport was 207.033 billion tons-kilometers, down by an average of 9 million tons-kilometers or 0.1 percent per day month-on-month. This indicates that it will take some time for the real economy to recover to the level recorded in the same period last year.

By People's Daily Online

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