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China Drought Threatens Transport of Coal to Jiangsu, Times Says

China’s driest weather in decades is threatening river transport of power-station coal to eastern Jiangsu province, Beijing Times said, without citing anyone.

The drought has started to affect shipments on the Yangtze and Huai rivers, the newspaper reported. Some areas in Jiangsu are facing the worst dry spell in 60 years, it said, citing Song Yu, a vice director at the provincial water resources office.

The nationwide drought has cut hydropower output and intensified an electricity shortage in the world’s fastest-growing major economy that relies on coal as fuel at more than 70 percent of its power plants. Boats delivered about 17 million metric tons of coal on the Yangtze in 2007, said David Fang, director of international cooperation at the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association.

“This will worsen the electricity shortage as coal supplies will be hampered, but given the relatively small shipment volumes on the two rivers, the impact will be limited,” Fang said by telephone from Beijing today. China produced 3.24 billion tons of coal last year.

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