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The Guarantee Measures and Countermeasures for Extreme Snow and Rainfall Weather

February 1, 2008

Ministry of Communications

1. Highway and Waterway Passenger Transport During the Spring Festival Transportation in 2008

The majority of travel for the 2008 Spring Festival will occur over a span of 40 days between January 23 and March 2. According to estimates, transport volumes for highway and waterway passenger transport will reach 2.15 billion passengers and 29.50 million person times, increasing 5 percent and 3 percent, respectively compared with those of last year.

To fully implement the spirit of the Executive Meeting of the State Council held on January 9 and the Video-conference on Guaranteeing the Market Supply and Strengthening the Price Supervision held on January 14, the Ministry of Communications issued "Notice on Operations for 2008 Spring Festival Travel" and "Memorandum on Measures to Strengthen Traffic Security for Spring Festival Travel". The notice details arrangements to ensure safety management, transport capacity dispatching, transport organization, market maintenance and quality service for Spring Festival travel. Immediate goals include: guarantee transportation for vital materials; do well on the 'Green Corridors'; implement exactly of the no-differential fee reduction and exemption for 'green corridors' either for inner-province or inter-province transport; ensure an orderly Spring Festival travel season.

During the Spring Festival transport season, 760,000 large and medium commercial passenger buses will be put into operation. An additional 40 thousand buses are held in reserve for emergency use. During this Spring Festival travel season, 2.08 million runs of regular passengers buses will be dispatched per day. In waterway transport, more than 20000 passenger vessels will be put into use with over one million berths. The travel demands of passengers can be fully satisfied for the Spring Festival.

2. Guarantee Measures and Countermeasures to the Extreme-serious Snowing and Rain-fall

2.1 Guarantee Measures of MOC during the Spring Festival Transportation

The Ministry of Communications takes eight measures to make sure that all passengers may enjoy safe, convenient, comfortable, and fast transport services even in dire weather conditions.

(1) Make a comprehensive plan to guarantee smooth operations and sufficient capacity

(2) Strengthen the safety management on key parts of waterway and highway transport

(3) Strengthen the inspection on the highway and waterway facilities

(4) Fully implement policies for the Spring Festival travel season in rural areas to exert the function of rural highway network

(5) Reinforce the "Green Corridors" to guarantee transport of fresh agricultural products during the holidays

(6) Strengthen the emergency management and response for highway and waterway transport

(7) Strengthen market supervision to improve service quality

(8) Provide real-time travel and weather information

2.2 Actively response to the impacts of highway transport brought by extreme snow and rainfall

Since January 12, 2008, the State has been experiencing the large-scale snow and rain, with interruptions of service for normal highway travel. The highway transport is negatively affected in 21 provinces, including serious outages in 12 provinces (Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Shandong, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Guizhou, and Shaanxi) and Chongqing Municipality. Some trunk highways are congested to a standstill.

To address these challenges, the CPC party committee of MOC has launched an emergency plan. MOC has prioritized accessible waterway transport during the snow disaster and further reallocated resources from the larger transport sector to guarantee highway transportation.

(1) Organize the emergency-response meeting to put forward relevant measures

On the afternoon of January 19, MOC organized an emergency-response meeting and put forward relevant measures in order to relieve the negative impacts brought out by the serious snow and rain. On the same day, MOC issued an urgent notice to require that the transport agencies at all levels in the affected areas should immediately launch the emergency response plan and take strong measures to clear the snow and ice. The transport of key materials and the material supply for the holidays should be guaranteed and the impacts brought by snow and rain should be minimized.

MOC requires that the transport agencies and transport enterprises in the affected areas should strengthen current efforts on weather forecast, early warning and monitoring. Variable message signs and informational signs should be placed in ticket-selling halls for mass-transit, toll stations, and near highways to provide 24 hour real-time weather and traffic information. The local media broadcasts, TV and mobile communications should also be used to issue the relevant information for public travel, vital materials transport, and detour information, as needed.

In addition to strengthening the works of the Leading Group of the Spring Festival, MOC has set up temporary emergency-response agency against the snow disaster led by the MOC leader. On January 21, MOC also established three working team led by the responsible MOC leader, including Highway Operations team, key material transport team, and news propaganda team. It is also required that the local relevant transport agencies should establish corresponding response teams.

MOC requires that the transport agencies at all levels, especially those in seriously-affected areas, should achieve real-time weather information and adopt the zero-case report system. Moreover, snow clearing materials and snow melting materials and anti-slip facilities should be placed in reserve in the expressway network and national or provincial trunk highway network, which may be immediately used under the situation of traffic blocking and jam due to the snow and rain. Meanwhile, the transport agencies should make good communications and cooperation with neighboring agencies and assist the police bureaus to relieve the traffic jam and ensure the smooth transport.

While dealing with the emergencies, the local transport agencies, relying on the coordination of the local government, should have an active cooperation with the public security agencies and adopt effective personnel dispatching measures. Particularly, the expressway network, the national trunk lines and inter-province corridors, under the coordination of local government and through the highway network linkage mechanism, should work well with the public security and police agencies to scientific close certain sections. Effective measures should be taken to minimize the closing time and affected sections of expressway and national trunk networks. The in-operational vehicles and stranded persons should be evacuated and arranged well.

MOC also requires that the transport agencies at all levels should take effective measures to guarantee the smooth operation of green corridors so that the transport of key materials and daily materials should not be affected. Warm clothes, water and food should be placed in reserve to meet the basic demands of stranded travelers.

(2) Special teams led by the MOC leaders rush to the serious-affected areas for anti-disaster

Minister Li Shenglin, Vice-minister Feng Zhenglin, Vice-minister Xu Zuyuan, Vice-minister Huang Xianyao, and Mr.Yang Limin, the Senior Adviser of the Ministry, have leaded several work teams, or accompanied with Central Committee leaders to different worst hit areas in Hubei, Hunan, Henan, Guizhou, Guangdong, Sichuan and Anhui, etc. to assist the local government on the campaign for ensuring the road clearance and emergency rescue. In addition, the Ministry of Communications also sent out the expert team leaded by the chief engineer to provide technical guidance and consultation on the anti-disaster front of Jingzhu Expressway in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province.

(3) To implement the instruction of Premier Wen Jiabao during his inspection on the Spring Festival transportation

First, studying and implementing rapidly the speech of the Premier within the whole transportation system and made the clear disposition. Right after Premier Wen Jiabao inspected the Spring Festival transportation work on January 25, the Ministry of Communications held a meeting immediately, and an urgent video and teleconference at the same night, to convey, study and implement the important speech of Premier Wen Jiabao within the whole transport industry.

The Ministry of Communications requires all the transportation employees to study and comprehend the important instruction of Premier Wen and to carry out in the daily transport work and the spring festival transportation season as well as in the urgent work of snow removal and highway clearance. It will take more powerful and effective measures to achieve "five guarantees".

1) To guarantee the trunk highway smoothly. Based on all the adopted measures to guarantee the road clearance, it will further increase the snow-removal equipment within the key areas, key bridges and key road sections. Measure should be taken to ensure the road capacity while ensuring the safety, to strengthen the inter-provincial roads information notification and the coordination to strengthen the supervision and inspection of spring festival transportation work within key areas.

2) To guarantee the key products transportation. Each ports organization must strengthen the leadership and organize carefully to ensure the loading and unloading of the coal electricity generation, and suspend the foreign trade coal transportation. If necessary, remove the conveyance in the international shipping market back to participate the transportation of coal for electricity generation.

3) To guarantee the clearance of "the Green Corridor". According to the deployment of State Council, the Ministry of Communications decided to start the emergency mechanism for fresh agricultural product transportation from January 26 to February 5. The toll fee is exempted to the legal loading vehicles, which transport completely the fresh agricultural products on "the Green Corridor" of the five vertical and two horizontal trunk highways.

4) To ensure the traffic safety. The instruction of Premier Wen should be firmly implemented to put the safety in the first place. The safety deployment made by Ministry must be implement to guarantee that the passengers go back home for family reunion safely.

5) To keep the transportation price stable. To fulfill exactly the requirement on the regulation of passenger transport price for highway and waterway during this spring festival transportation, which is made by the National Development and Planning Commission and Ministry of Communications. The price of highway transport passengers is following the government instruction and the enterprise transportation charge could fluctuate within the government guide price. The rural road, waterway and offshore islands passenger transportation should not enhance the price. All the preferential policy of last year must continue to be carried out this year.

To guarantee the coal transportation

Earnestly carrying out Premier Wen Jiabao's instruction on guaranteeing the electric coal transportation when he inspected the passenger transportation around the Chinese Lunar New Year on January 25, Ministry Of Communications issued a notice associating with National Development and Reform Commission on January 26, requesting that electric coal transportation for major transshipment ports along coastal areas shall be put in priority, to guarantee the coal supply to the backbone electric plants of the coastal areas.

Coal transportation enterprises shall take enforced leadership and organize all resources to solve the problems occurred during transportation; second, port enterprises shall give priority to electric coal loading and transportation, suspend export coals during Spring Festival, and shipping enterprises shall dispatch international ships to participate in domestic emergency transportation for electric coal whenever needed; third, major coal ports shall strictly follow the transportation priority order and requirements for the provinces in east China and south China. Those who stock coal for later sales and ask for higher prices to make great profit shall be severely punished.

At the same time, Ministry of Communications dispatched five supervision groups to major ports, inspecting and supervising the coal transportation.

2.3 Reserve sufficient transportation capacity to guarantee key material transportation

According to Premier Wen Jiaobao's speech on transportation around the Chinese Lunar New Year, and the extremely bad weather during the festival, Ministry of Communications timely published Emergency Notice on Reinforcing Passenger Transportation and Key Material Transportation During Spring Festival, calling on local organizations to give great concern on key material transportation such as coal, seafood and live poultry, and guarantee sufficient transportation capacity, take effective measures to guarantee the key material transportation when transportation peak occurs. Meanwhile, supervision on road cargo transportation shall be reinforced to guarantee the material transportation during festival period, especially priority shall be given to meat, poultry, vegetables and fruits transport. Feedbacks from countrywide show that the road transportation capacity is sufficient for agricultural and poultry products. Bad weather and road control have greatly influenced the key material and living necessities transportation for part of country and routes. However, with the continuous and improving p of road conditions, the transportation is recovering to normal status.

2.4 To carry out and implement the principles and deployment of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee Meeting

2.4.1 Implement the deployment and make clear requirement

On January 29, Political Bureau of the Central Committee held a meeting on the snow crisis and make deployment to guarantee the normal production and daily life. MOC conveyed the principles in transportation system and made clear requests that all the staff should take effective measures by all means to guarantee the smooth traffic.

First, local authorities should implement the principles of the meeting, and make good preparations for the traffic peak during the Spring Festival and the transportation of coal, fuels and electricity.

Second, to ensure the traffic along trunk highways and waterways; to guarantee the transportation of important materials including electricity and coals; to ensure the smooth traffic along "Green Passage"; to ensure traffic safety; and to keep transportation price stable;

Third, to strengthen administration and authorities. Based on the special situation, the emergency responsibilities are divided into three parts—emergency handling, information collection and media publication. Actions should be allocated to specific persons.

Fourth, focus should be put on the serious snow-damaged sections of eight areas including Hunan, Guangdong, Hubei, Henan, Guizhou, Jiangsu, Anhui, and Shaanxi.

Fifth, to mobilize the party members of all levels to take the lead and play as a model in the relief work and transportation so as to win the battle.

2.4.2 Strengthen practical measures and to guarantee the restoration of highway traffic Strengthen the relief measures

On January 29, MOC further improved the relief measures besides the snow clearance work.

First, designate chief engineer of MOC to organize technicians for relief work and to direct the traffic restoration;

Second, organize hundreds of experienced engineers and drivers from north China to be prepared to the relief work;

Third, learn form the experience of snow clearing in Xinjiang area and apply it in snow damaged areas.

Fourth, collect the information from snow damaged areas in time. Coordinated with national emergency office, MOC has organized 5300 sets of skid-proof chains and other facilities and delivered them to areas including Guangdong and Hunan.

Fifth, with the approaching of Spring Festival, MOC requests local authorities to be fully prepared to the huge passenger volume, to continue allocating transportation capacity in the rainy and snowy days, and to further strengthen the measures of smooth traffic to ensure safe arrival of passengers for Spring Festival. Improve coordination and divert traffic in all available ways

First, organize the inter-provincial video phone conference.

In the afternoon of January 29, Feng Zhenglin, Vice Minister of MOC hosted an emergency video meeting that connected the authorities in Hunan, Henan, Hubei, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Anhui, Guizhou and Shaanxi provinces. It strengthened the coordination among the above areas in snow clearing work of highways.

Vice Minister Feng Zhenglin made clear deployment on the current work:

First, Guangdong and Hunan provinces should clear the icing payment along Beijing-Zhuhai expressway to guarantee the one-way traffic at least, so as to mitigate congestion.

Second, Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, Hubei and Shaanxi provinces should manage to open the highway once the snow stops;

Third, Guizhou Province should guarantee restricted traffic and guarantee the traffic safety;

MOC also made four practical measures to achieve the above targets:

1. To strengthen the communication and co-ordination between the province and neighboring provinces to take the initiative to report the highway traffic. Coordination is also required among public security authorities so as to make better control of expressway traffic.

2. Make detour lines for seriously congested road sections for traffic leading.

3. Provide more relief materials including skid-proof facilities and equipment for deicing.

4. Improve the rescue of stranded passengers and guarantee the supply of necessities.

Second, improve the coordination among different authorities to resume the traffic of expressways.

In the afternoon of January 29, MOC and Ministry of Public Security jointly issued the "Emergency notification on Smooth Expressway", it requires all involved local authorities' efforts.

The notification requests local public security and transportation authorities especially those along the Jingzhu expressway to overcome all difficulties and take all measures to resume the traffic.

With coordination of Ministry of Public Security, MOC tried all kinds of methods not to close expressways. Regarding the highways influenced by bad weather but can allow slow traffic, public security and transportation authorities should take all kinds of methods including police vehicle guiding, restricted speed to open the road. For expressways which should be closed because of frozened pavement, authorities should release information to the public and neighboring areas so as to divert the traffic as well as to clear the snow and ice. Meanwhile, transportation authorities should provide necessary services to stranded people under the leadership of local government.

When extremely bad weather occurs and causes long-time stay-put of large number of vehicles, local transportation authorities should apply for the approval from provincial government to activate the emergency system. The expressway administration should provide free passage and make the toll stands as diverting service stations for timely operations.

Thirdly, to guarantee the supply of necessities to stranded passengers and supply of fuels to vehicles stuck in highways.

Local transportation authorities, while fighting for smooth highway traffic, should spare no efforts to deliver food and other necessary materials to stranded people, and fuels to vehicles along highways. They should mobilize people and army soldiers along the highway to join in the battle against snow storm.

According to statistics, transportation authorities in Hunan Province, while working with provincial government and related authorities, have organized over 100 thousands citizens and soldiers to fight against the icing and to evacuate the stranded passengers. Necessary materials enough for 15 days have been delivered to each person and vehicle. Authorities in Hubei have already delivered over 30 thousands packages of food and medicines to passengers. Guangdong authorities have taken advantages of each service station, tolling stand to deliver food, water, medicines, and fuels. Up till now, over 15,000 liters of diesel together with packages of necessities have been provided along the north part of Beijing-Zhuhai expressway. Jiangsu authorities make real time information release through all kinds of media including TV, radio, newspapers and LED display in passenger stations. The information includes the weather reports, the traffic information, railway and flight changes. It helps people to arrange their travel plans. 628 traffic messages have been released through radio channels, and 77 through TV. 56800 messages have been sent out through SMS with 19280 inquiries and replies. Authorities in Anhui have allocated 100 million maintenance funds and 5 million subsidy funds for highway traffic restoration and relief work.

Authorities in other snow-damaged areas have made their utmost to resume the highway traffic and provide necessities to stranded passengers. Evacuate passengers in all kinds of available ways when traffic is restored

MOC issued an emergency notice on January 30, based on the highway restoration. It requires local authorities to arrange bus liners and evacuate passengers when the traffic is resumed.

Firstly, to guarantee the quick evacuation, necessary equipments and facilities should be provided including the skid-proof chains. Traffic police vehicles could take the lead to guide bus liners for safety. Detour lines should be prepared for backup plans when traffic in some sections is not resumed, and transport administration should not exert charges or fines on such buses. Ticket offices should be closed for those highways not yet suitable for traffic, and free ticket refunding or change should be conducted in such cases. Important materials including coal, charcoal, and fresh agricultural products should be put on the top of agenda in transportation.

Secondly, be fully prepared to handling the huge passenger volume in future. When the weather turns to be better, a rapid growth in passenger volume is very likely with restored highway traffic. Authorities in all levels should be fully prepared to handle it and manage to avoid any stay-put of passengers.

Thirdly, stipulate and implement with earnest the preferential policies. Further efforts are required in stipulation and implementation of the preferential policies for transportation operators. Economic stimulation could be adopted to encourage them involving in transportation during Spring Festival. The preferential policies should be released to public and it should not make any difference between local vehicles and others.

Fourthly, stick to the information report system for transportation during Spring Festival. Serious situation including many break-down of bus liners, large volume of passengers stuck in stations, or overstock of important materials caused by transportation should be reported without any delay.

3. Major achievements

3.1 Traffic turns better in snow-damaged highways.

After the unceasing efforts of over 720 thousand workers of transportation authorities in 12 snow-damaged areas, the traffic turns better. All staff of the transportation authorities has been working around the clock. January 29, Wangyong, vice director in transportation bureau of Quanjiao County in Anhui province, and Guoyi, the staff of Wensha Expressway Administration of Jiangxi Province dedicated their lives in the battle against snow and ice. By 9 o'clock on January 31, except for expressways in Guizhou were closed because of icing, other ice-damaged expressways has been open to normal traffic with slow traffic in some sections. The trunk way Beijing-Zhuhai expressway has been put into traffic especially after the great efforts in January 30. By January 31, some sections of the fourteen national highways (G105, G106, G107, G205, G206, G207, G209, G210, G214, G227, G318, G319, G320, G326) of the seven provinces (Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Guizhou, Jiangxi, Yunnan, and Qinghai) have not been put into traffic because of icing. And the snow and ice clearance work has continued in the above highways.

3.2 Good implementation of Green Passage Project with good feedback

MOC has always focused on Green Passage project. At the beginning of 2008, elimination of difference between local vehicles and other vehicles along Green Passage area is one of the key focuses of MOC. By January 20, tolls have been waived off in 31 provinces and along the Green Passage. And no different implementation has been monitored to different vehicles. During the relief work, MOC, under the deployment of the State Council, issued an emergency notice again in January 25, and decided to activate the emergency transportation of fresh agricultural products across the country. Trucks with fresh agricultural products could travel along the Green Passage for free.

According to the central government request, MOC held an emergent video phone conference and restate the arrangement to local authorities across the country. A special work group for Smooth Green Passage is established and will work around the clock. The hotline number is released to the public through CCTV and other media.

From January 25 to 27, members of the work group monitored the situation in each province through phone reports. By January 26, 31 provinces and areas across the country have stipulated related regulations based on the request of the State Council and MOC. All the areas have strictly carried out the emergency measures of free travel of fresh agricultural products trucks. According to the responses from the hotline, the policy has been properly implemented with good performance.

3.3 Further improvement in coordination and emergency response

During the relief work, MOC has organized the inter-provincial video conference to help the coordination and improve the operation. It proves later that the coordination system accelerated the relief work especially in those seriously damaged sections e.g. sections in Hunan Province, Guangdong Province, and Hubei Province of Beijing-Zhuhai expressway.

MOC also takes the initiatives in coordination with public security authorities and issued the notices on "all efforts for smooth expressway" together with the Ministry of Public Security. It requires the local public security and transportation authorities to make utmost efforts not to close expressways. For seriously congested sections, they should apply for the approval of provincial government to activate the emergency system, and offer the free passage to divert the traffic.

In addition, MOC has coordinated with provincial authorities including Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Jilin to organize backup drivers and technicians. All the required man power has been organized over one night. It shows the quick response and the team-work spirit of transportation staff.

The coordination and consulting scheme improve the interaction and cooperation among different authorities. The great team work and timely response in transportation system has provided the solid ground to win the battle against snow and ice.

(China Development Gateway February 1, 2008)

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