East China\'s Ningbo Customs has simplified clearance procedures for thermal coal imports as a persistent heatwave is exacerbating the power crunch in the region, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC). Ningbo Customs has opened a separate window dedicated to thermal coal in order to help speed up clearances, a GAC statement said. Meanwhile, customs tracks bulk cargo through prior declarations and discharges them immediately after they arrive on shore, which saves time for power plants, the statement said. The entire clearance process for thermal coal takes less than 24 hours, according to traders. Ningbo customs has released a total of 2.6 million tonnes of coal since June, according to customs data. Power consumption has increased in the region, with extra use of air conditioning units and longer trading hours at shops during the summer. China is the world\'s largest producer and consumer of coal, with official data showing the country\'s coal production reached 3.65 billion tonnes in 2012.