Dongfeng Honda Auto resumes operations as Wuhan sees zero new infections

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/22 23:10:29

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The first chartered train transporting more than 1,000 auto workers arrived in Wuhan Saturday, a signal of the efforts to restart its automobile industry after weeks of shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The train, carrying employees of Dongfeng Honda Auto, arrived at Hankou Railway Station on Saturday afternoon where more than 30 buses were waiting to take the workers to their accommodation in the Wuhan Development Zone. 

The work resumption chartered train is the first to resume operations in Hubei Province, and sends a positive signal for the auto market in Hubei and nationwide, said Wu Shuocheng, a Shanghai-based car analyst.

As a major manufacturing base for domestic autos and parts in China, Hubei manufactured 2.24 million cars in 2019. Dongfeng Honda has three plants in Wuhan. Its commercial vehicle production accounted for 49 percent of Hubei's output in 2019.

Since last week, the company has been picking up employees from Xinzhou and Huangpi in Hubei, taking them back to work by chartered buses. Including those on the train, more than 1,800 people have returned to Dongfeng Honda. 

As of Thursday, 229 Dongfeng Honda suppliers were given approval to resume work and 173 companies have restarted operations, with 8,026 workers back to work. Dongfeng Honda has an estimated 100,000 employees from the related industrial chains and logistics.

"The work resumption rate of the automobile industry outside Hubei is nearing 90 percent, and as work resumes in the auto industry in Hubei in late March, we expect that economic activity from the supply side will get back to normal soon," Wu said.

As a pillar of the manufacturing industry in Wuhan, the Wuhan Development Zone is known as China's automobile capital with seven vehicle manufacturers and more than 500 automobile parts companies. As of Saturday, 244 large industrial enterprises in the zone had gained permission to start work, with 201 already restarting operations.

Other chartered trains and buses are leaving for other Chinese provinces from Hubei as the coronavirus pandemic is being contained. On Saturday, 13 chartered buses from Shiyan in Hubei Province took employees to Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province and Shanghai. 

According to the Hubei Provincial Human Resources and Social Affairs Department, 120,000 migrant workers in Hubei had resumed work in other provinces by Friday.


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