Country to ensure smooth transport

BEIJING: China will roll out a raft of measures to ensure smooth road transport and accelerate work resumption, according to the Ministry of Transport. Liu Xiaoming, vice minister of transport, told a press conference Friday that the country’s road traffic has recovered rapidly spurred by the decision to scrap all tolls nationwide since Feb. 17. China’s highway network saw the daily vehicle trips increase 6.2 percent year on year to 26.54 million on Thursday, jumping from 5.42 million on Feb. 16, said Liu. The total reduction of toll is estimated to reach 1.5 billion yuan (about 21.56 million U.S. dollars) every day, he noted. For toll-road operators encountering difficulty in repaying their financial debts as a result of the toll-free pass policy, financial institutions will be guided toward providing support to them through deferring interest payment and extending principal repayment, Liu noted. Affected by the spreading of the virus, the total passenger volume of railway, road, waterway and aviation dropped by 79.9 percent year on year in February, with the freight volume down 26.5 percent. Considering the contraction in passenger volume brought by the outbreak, transport authorities have encouraged relative enterprises to provisionally scrap franchise fees for taxi drivers to ensure steady income, said Liu. Meanwhile, more coordinated steps will be taken to aid transport enterprises severely hit by the outbreak, especially micro, small and medium-sized firms, said Liu, adding that insurers are prodded to offer special credit support or issue loans at preferential rates for companies that have been forced out of service due to the epidemic.
– The Daily Mail-People’s Daily News exchange item