China goes all out to ensure Spring Festival travel, logistics

China's transport sector has made full preparations to ensure smooth transportation and logistics during the upcoming Spring Festival travel rush, which will continue for 40 days from January 7 to February 15 this year.

The number of passenger trips during this year's Spring Festival travel rush is expected to surge by 99.5 percent from last year to reach nearly 2.1 billion, which would be 70.3 percent of the number seen in 2019, after China recently downgraded its management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B, Vice Minister of Transport Xu Chengguang told a press conference on Friday.

Enhanced transportation capacity

To cope with the situation, China's railway operators have adopted flexible operating plans to increase transportation efficiency and better cater to people's travel needs.

China saw some 4,100 kilometers of new railway lines begin operations in 2022, with over half that figure being high-speed railway.

"We will give full play to the advantages of our high-speed railway network amid the travel rush, and ratchet up the transportation capacity in key areas and at peak hours," said Huang Xin, head of the company's passenger transport department.

Wan Xiangdong, chief pilot of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said the administration will increase the average daily number of flights to 11,000 during the holiday, equivalent to 73 percent of the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

Domestic aviation companies are encouraged to add more flights on popular routes to meet the demand of passengers during the travel rush, Wan said.

Ensuring smooth logistics

Freight transportation is also facing pressures during the holiday season, as medical supplies, daily necessities and holiday goods are in high demand.

To ensure the unimpeded transportation of medical supplies, local transportation authorities are being guided to provide targeted, advance support for key producers, and roll out company-specific measures to help remove logistics bottlenecks, Xu said.

The country's State Post Bureau has urged companies to hire more delivery workers or temporary workers, to prompt work resumption, said Chen Kai, deputy chief of the bureau.

Distribution centers have also been encouraged to maximize their operation capacities by optimizing delivery routes, extending service hours and carrying out night deliveries, Chen said.

On Tuesday, decisions made at a State Council executive meeting stressed that logistics companies will be supported to redistribute transportation capacities as appropriate and reinforce frontline staff, calling for efforts to provide greater care for couriers delivering goods and food, to ensure the stable operations of postal and delivery services during Spring Festival.