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March 18, 2010

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New port to free coal from Inner Mongolia

THE landlocked coal-rich Inner Mongolia in north China will soon have an open access to ship its coal from a port in its neighboring province to fuel-thirsty customers in eastern and southern regions.

A port terminal to be built in Huludao, Liaoning Province, will support an annual throughput of 50 million tons of coal when the first phase of the project becomes operational by 2012, Zhao Rongqing, chief of port affairs in Huludao City, said yesterday.

The annual throughput would eventually be expanded to 230 million tons, Zhao said.

He said a 300-kilometer railway will be built to link the port directly with Xilingol, a major coal production base in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Inner Mongolia is China's coal heartland. Its verified coal deposit of 732 billion tons is much greater than the 250 billion tons in Shanxi Province, which is currently China's biggest producer of the fossil fuel.

However, transport bottlenecks have been hindering Inner Mongolia from sending the resource to end users in coastal and southern regions.

"The landlocked northern region has 60 percent of the country's coal reserve. However, southern and coastal regions consume 70 percent of the country's electricity," said Zhao Yonghua, vice mayor of Inner Mongolia's Ulanqab City.

"Current road and railway transport for coal cannot meet the demand."


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