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Infrastructural, Logistical and Staffing Shortcomings Stymying Hazchem

  •   18 Apr 2018
  •    Ying Zhang
  •    1219
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    In 2017, China witnessed 10% annual growth in hazardous chemical transportation with an overall volume exceeding 1.6 billion tons. More rapid growth is being hindered by insufficient railway capacity, insufficient storage, and lack of talent.


    Modes of Transport

    Road transport is the dominant mode of hazardous chemical transportation in China. More than 1 billion tons of Hazchem are transported by road each year accounting for 60% of the total. By June 2016, there were 10928 enterprises registered for dangerous goods transportation and more than 210,000 vehicles (estimate).

    In terms of waterway transport, an estimated 250 million tons of hazardous chemical was transported in 2017. Chart 1 compares different tanks used in inter-provincial waterway transport. Enterprises use tankers mostly for shipping oil. 


    Number of tanks transporting hazChem

    Amount of transported hazChem

    Oil Tanker


    9.9473 million

    Chemical Tanker


    1.0593 million

    Liquefied Gas Tanker


    0.2203 million

                                                                   Chart 1

    However, Chinese railway transport capacity is far below expectations. It is normally used to transport bulk cargo rather than hazchems/dangerous goods.


    China has approximately 5000 storage enterprises and 0.1 billion square meters of storage room for hazardous chemicals. However, the demand for storage reaches to 0.13 billion (30% demand-supply disparity).

    In 2016, types of warehouses included storage tanks (55%), stereoscopic warehouses (25%) and single warehouses (15%), other (5%). In 2017, there was a 5% rise in both storage tanks (30%) and stereoscopic warehouses (30%). The figures for other types dropped significantly.  Despite a consecutive year-on-year rise (about 6%-7% each year) in HazChem storage capacity, there is still a shortage of storage room which is unlikely to be met in the short-term.   

    The average assets of China's petrochemical storage enterprises are 190 million Yuan, with an average floor area of 150,000 square meters and an average storage capacity of 40,000 cubic meters.

    Call for Talents

    According to SAWS, 33.57% of storage keepers are migrant workers without much education or knowledge about hazardous chemicals and scientific management. 70% to 80% storage keepers lack proper vocational training.


    Click here for a detailed introduction to dangerous goods transportation in china.



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