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Coal shortages across China now acute

Coal shortages across China now acute

Guangzhou: China's power shortages are now desperately acute with 17 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions suffering blackouts, and power grids in central China's Hubei and Hunan provinces and south China's Guizhou and Guangdong provinces reported as seriously damaged, following the worst snow storms in the mainland since 1954 bringing the nation's transport infrastructure to its knees as the world's largest human migration - .Lunar New Year - gets underway. Inflation is now very likely as more than $3bn has already been lost with these transport delays.

Nmore than 77 million people have been affected by transport delays and hundreds of power stations are now reporting their coal stocks are critically low, under two days reserves.

Coal exports have been banned, while Beijing has commandeered many bulk ships to urgently relieve China's strained national grid - the shortfall in power now exceeding the equivalent of the entire UK national grid.

About 4.5 million tons of coal is expected to arrive at Guangzhou ports on 125 cargo ships, some of which had canceled international missions to assist in coal shipping from north to south, the Guangzhou Daily reported yesterday.

However, it will still take 15 days for ships from Bohai Bay in north China to reach Guangzhou. Ten cargo ships will arrive in the next three days, the newspaper said.

"More cargo terminals will be opened to increase the capacity of the port," said Chen Hongxian, board chairman of Guangzhou Port Group.  [31/01/08]