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China's Tianjin port cracks down on coal in Beijing's war on smog: notice
April 17, 2017 / 9:05 AM / 5 months ago

China's Tianjin port cracks down on coal in Beijing's war on smog: notice

FILE PHOTO: A Chinese miner works at a coal mine in the suburb of Tangshan, China's Hebei province December 9, 2005. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Tianjin Port Co Ltd will impose measures to curb the trucking and storage of coal months earlier than expected, as one of the nation’s busiest ports complies with government orders in its war on smog, a customer notice shows.

By Wednesday, the port will stop receiving coal by truck and by the end of the month it will clear its storage warehouses of the fuel, a notice to customers dated April 16 said.

A manager at the port’s logistics division confirmed the authenticity of the document which was seen by Reuters on Monday.

In March, Beijing called for a ban on transporting coal in Hebei, China’s top steel producing province, and the city of Tianjin by the end of September, forcing consumers, miners and traders to use the railroad.

A spokesman for the port declined to comment.

A general view shows Tianjin Port, in northern China February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A Tianjin based trader estimated that a couple million tonnes of coal has been sitting at logistic facilities at Tianjin port.

“It is almost impossible to clear all the cargoes before the deadline. A trader won’t be able to find enough downstream buyers in such a short time period,” he said.

The government plans to turn the coal storage spaces into storage centers for imported vehicles, according to the trader.

The step is an “important political task”, the port notice said, as China’s central government aims to cut pollution in Beijing, Hebei province and Tianjin, one of the smoggiest regions of the country.

Tianjin’s rival Tangshan Port Group Co Ltd, located 130 km (81 miles) to the north, is expected to benefit from shipments of coal being diverted away from Tianjin as a result of the move.

Reporting by Meng Meng and Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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