China's rail carriers have raised freight transport fares to cover extra costs brought about by oil price hikes, the country's top economic planning agency said on Wednesday.
Each wagon of freight will be charged from 5.7 yuan (80 US cents) to 14.8 yuan per ton plus extra charges ranging from 0.03 yuan to more than 0.07 yuan per ton-km, according to a statement published by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
The prices varied for different kinds of wagons.
Fares for bulk goods are set at 0.117 yuan per 10 kg plus 0.00055 yuan per 10 kg-km, or 0.167 yuan per 10 kg plus 0.00075 per 10 kg-km.
The cost of transporting a 1-tonne container is 10.1 yuan per container and an extra 0.0369 yuan for every kilometer transported.
For 20-foot containers, charges are 219 yuan per container plus 1.0374 yuan per km, with charges for 40-foot containers at 429.8 yuan per container plus 1.6374 yuan per km.
"The previous charges for rail freight were relatively too low, and the move is meant to alleviate some pressure from recent oil price hikes," said the joint statement by the NDRC and the Ministry of Railways.
However, the statement did give the margin for the price mark-up from with the previous level.
The government raised the benchmark retail price of gasoline by 16 percent to 6,980 yuan a ton and diesel by 18 percent to 6,980 yuan a ton on June 20.
The government also pledged to freeze fares for rail passengers, as well as urban and rural public transport and taxis, to minimize the impact on daily life, but allowed for increases on goods transport.
Last year, China's railways transported more than 3 billion tons of freight, an increase of 8.6 percent from a year earlier.
(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2008)