China’s construction of multi-railroad to ease coal constraints
Aug 28, 2012 | | Edited by Harry Huo

Constructions of multiple coal-dedicated railroads are expected to materially ease the long-standing bottleneck constraining the transportation of coal from western production areas to end users in the east and the south. 

A number of projects will be under construction this year, including the key Ningxi (Xi’an- Shanghai) double track and the line from western Inner Mongolia to Jiangxi (200 Mtpa), according to the 2012 implementation program of the coal industry’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) recently released by the National Development and Reform Commission.

The government has set a plan to achieve 3 billion tonnes of rail coal transporting capacity during the 2011-2015 period, basically meeting the demand of rail transportation (2.6 billion tonnes or 66.7% of expected 2015 output of 3.9 billion tonnes), according to the plan issued by the NDRC in Mar.

Railways across China transported 1.72 billion tonnes coal or nearly 45% of the country’s total output of 4.52 billion tonnes (NBS data) in 2011, indicating over 1 billion tonnes of growth room in haulage capacity over the years to 2015, according to industry portal China coal resource (CCR), which is operated by professional coal consultant Fenwei Energy Consulting Co., Ltd.

By 2015, some 1.43 billion tonnes coal is expected to be transported out of key producing provinces of Shanxi, Shaanxi, western Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Gansu, in comparison to a planned rail capacity of 2 billion tonnes or so, according to the NDRC’s plan.

Several truck lines and branch lines will be constructed or undergoing expansion in these provinces, according to the medium and long-term railway development plan CCR has obtained from relevant authorities. 

Currently, three main railways have started construction and expected to come onstream around 2014-15: 1) the Zhangtang railway (200 Mtpa), from Zhangjiakou of the Jingbao (Beijing-Baotou) Line to Caofeidian port in Tangshan, will transport Inner Mongolian coal to the outside; 2) the line from Xilingol to Caofeidian port via Chengde; and 3) the line from Luliang in central south Shanxi to eastern port of Rizhao (200 Mtpa). 

With so many railroads under construction or planned to be built, China is expected to see a fundamental change in rail coal transportation by 2014, said analysts with Fenwei. While rail tension is easing gradually, imported coal price will lose one leading support and a fiercer market competition would emerge, they added.

Over the past years, Fenwei has conducted intensive study on railways existing or proposed to be constructed in China’s top coal producing provinces, particularly the areas bordering landlocked resources-rich Mongolia.

Based on first-hand data obtained from field surveys and relevant authorities, Fenwei also have generated the most up-to-date railway maps that industry players have relied on to further understand China’s evolving coal industry. If you wish to know more details, please contact CCR staff at


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