Affected by COVID-19 pandemic, the spring maintenance this year to Daqin railway was postponed to May 1-30, a month later than last year. Thanks to high mechanization, the maintenance was completed ahead of schedule on May 28.
During the maintenance, the Daqin railway stopped operation for three hours from 7:00 to 10:00 each day.
Affected by this, Daqin's shipment was supposed to reduce, while its transport data released recently is much higher than expected.
A total 31.63 million tonnes of coal was transported by Daqin rail in May, falling by 20.57% compared with a year ago but increasing by 1.91 million tonnes or 6.43% from April, according to Daqin Railway Co., Ltd.'s announcement.
The daily average shipment amounted to 1.02 million tonnes.
Shipment of Daqin Railway kept low in early May, as downstream demand remained flat and the upstream coal miners were unwilling to dispatch coal when coal prices stabilized at low levels in coastal port market.
Yet later, as coal prices rebounded quickly due to tightening supply of some coal types, and utilities sped up procurement, Daqin railway's shipment recovered apparently. Its coal delivery rapidly rebounded to above 1.3 million tonnes per day after the maintenance that ended two days in advance.
In particular, the number of coal wagons to east Qinghuangdao port and Jingtang port decreased, while that to Qinhuangdao port and west Caofeidian port increased.
Meanwhile, import coal restriction further tightened in May, easing overseas coal's competition with domestic coal transported by Daqin railway to northern ports.
Customs data showed, China's coal imports declined 19.7% year on year and reduced 28.7% month on month in May, compared with a year-on-year growth of 26.9% in the first four months of this year.
Daqin railway's daily average shipment is expected to recover to a high level of 1.2-1.25 million tonnes in June, owing to multiple favorable factors like low stocks at port, rebounding daily coal burn at utilities in summer, year-on- year reduction of hydro generation and restriction on imported coal.
The Daqin railway runs from Datong in Shanxi province to Qinhuangdao in Hebei province with a total length of 653 kilometers. It shoulders nearly 1/5 of China's total rail coal transportation.
(Writing by Shengnan Liu Editing by Jessie Jia)
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