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Transport seen as route to a cleaner tomorrow

2013-06-08 11:16 China Daily     Web Editor: qindexing comment
A bicycle rental station in Luoyang, Henan province. It is common to see bicycles for rent in many cities in China. [Photo/China Daily]

A bicycle rental station in Luoyang, Henan province. It is common to see bicycles for rent in many cities in China. [Photo/China Daily]

The global transport industry is going through a dramatic transformation as high oil prices and climate change force governments and the private sector to create sustainable systems and reduce carbon emissions.

No surprise then that transportation has become a hot issue at the 2013 Fortune Global Forum being held in Southwest China's Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province.

As the country's largest air transportation company in the country, Air China International Corp will use bio-fuel in its Boeing 747 for trans-ocean flights in July, said Wang Yin-xiang, vice-chairman of Air China during a panel session looking at the future of transport.

"We have been doing research and development on bio-fuel application in air transportation, which had achieved some success," she said.

Air China has saved about 2,000 metric tons of fuel and cut carbon emissions by around 10,000 tons in the last year through technology upgrading, according to Wang.

She said the load factor of Air China at present is about 80 to 85 percent, which still has room to improve.

"If we can raise the figure by merely 10 percent, it will be huge progress and will contribute a lot to environmental protection and energy efficiency," she said.

There were many innovative methods proposed by other panelists to cope with the current transportation challenges, including energy-saving, time management and safety. Michael Dunne, president of Dunne & Co Ltd, said car-sharing can be a good way to save energy and New York city has done this for years.

New York launched a car-sharing program in 2010 and launched a bike-sharing program last week.

Car-sharing is not popular in China except during holidays when people are not be able to buy train tickets to go back to their hometowns. However, it is common to see bicycles for rent in many cities in China.

Nevertheless, Wang said cycling was facing an uphill struggle. "There are not many roads for cyclists and the air quality is not satisfactory for people to cycle," she said.

Dunne agreed it was critical for the government to make investment in better public transport infrastructure.

"In terms of energy-saving, the problem is how to shift people from cars to a public transportation system," said Rolf Habben-Jansen, CEO of Damco, the freight forwarding subsidiary of AP Moller Maersk during the panel session.

He also mentioned technology's contribution to a better transportation system, such as APP software, which can connect potential passengers and taxi drivers.

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