China smooths logistics amid COVID-19 control to meet daily, industrial needs 【Supply of necessities,Supply crunches, Moves to shore up logistics】

2022.04.13 SOURCE: Xinhua

BEIJING -- China has taken steps to facilitate logistics to ensure the supply of necessities for households and industries amid COVID-19 flare-ups in certain parts of the country, which it is tackling with rigorous measures.

A Ministry of Transport circular issued on Tuesday prohibited the blocking of road transportation or sending back vehicles or personnel, irrespective of their circumstances, and ordered more efficient COVID-19 screening along transportation routes.

These measures followed a State Council circular on Monday urging all possible efforts to ensure the smooth transportation of medical and epidemic-prevention supplies, daily necessities, postal and express deliveries, as well as production materials, so as to minimize the impact on economic and social activities.

Supply crunches are being caused in some areas by stringent anti-COVID travel and testing requirements, suspended expressway services and traffic congestion around roadside testing booths.

In response, the State Council circular called for free nucleic acid testing services to be offered to truck drivers and ship crew members, and for traffic permits recognized across the country to be issued to vehicles carrying important supplies.

Local authorities are on the move. Shanghai added COVID-19 testing sites along expressways and set up some exclusively for truck drivers in the city, while the Shanghai Port issued a permit for container trucks accepted by four adjacent provincial regions in the Yangtze River Delta.

The spring farming season, a critical juncture of agricultural production for the whole year, depends on the smooth provision of supplies. Nuanced measures are needed to ensure farmers and agricultural supplies arrive in time.

Northeast China's Jilin Province, a major grain producer now fighting a COVID-19 outbreak, is issuing travel passes for farmers and sending them to farmland in chartered buses. By Sunday evening, around 100,000 farmers had reached their destinations.

The province also launched fast lanes for vehicles transporting agricultural materials and issued travel permits to nearly 500 suppliers. Local data shows that by Sunday, the arrival of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides was keeping pace with the same period last year.

On Tuesday, other Chinese authorities also announced moves to shore up logistics. The State Post Bureau stressed the delivery of postal and express packages to residential communities without delay, and the National Development and Reform Commission said it will ensure necessities reach the doorsteps of people in COVID-19-hit areas.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said that more funds should be channeled to the freight logistics sector, in the form of inclusive loans to small and micro firms and individual businesses, for instance.

Banking institutions should make reasonable arrangements for loan extensions or renewals as appropriate if truck drivers face difficulties in repaying their auto loans due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the regulator said.