September 3, 2010

2nd Traffic Jam mires northern China

CARS - According to Chinese authorities speaking anonymously over 10,000 trucks hauling coal on the Beijing-Tibet Highway have become mired in a SECOND huge traffic jam which has backed up traffic for over 120 km. See The Great Traffic Jam of China for a description of the 1st traffic jam which has now been going on for 20 days as of today and isn't expected to end until September 17th.

This second traffic jam is in reaction to the first one (which is still ongoing due to construction) as truck drivers are hoping to avoid the first traffic jam by taking alternate routes. The problem is that there's isn't a lot of options for large trucks hauling coal between Inner Mongolia and industrial centres where the coal is needed (China is highly dependent on coal for energy and are even using it to make gasoline).

The 2nd traffic jam might actually be worse than the first one. The exact length of the traffic jam is unreported, but the worst stretch is a 120 km of highway between Inner Mongolia’s Zhouzi and Xinghe counties. State media say 10,000 trucks are stuck in the jam.

According to one reporter the total length of the traffic jam (minus sections where the roads aren't clogged) is approx. 640 km. Some truckers claim they've been in the traffic jam for 5-6 days before getting clear of it.

China’s overloaded highway system hasn't been built to withstand the amount of trucks being sent back and forth for coal. Their ability to build roads has not kept up with the fast pace they are building trucks for transporting coal.

From an economic standpoint what China really needs is the completion of the Trans-Arabia Oil Pipeline, which will allow oil from Iraq and Iran to be channeled through Afghanistan at the Afghan-China border known as Wakhjir Pass. The oil pipeline has been completed in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Iran has not yet allowed the oil pipeline to go through their territory because they object to the pipeline being partially owned by Americans.

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