New Silk Road with Increasing Quantities and New Routes
As a large-scale subsidy program of the Chinese government, the project “One Belt One Road” means more than the expansion of infrastructure. The New Silk Road will connect cultures and economies. The challenges and opportunities of this collaboration were the subjects of two forums at transport logistic 2019.
Although China has not issued any official maps for the Silk Road, three main routes of the Silk Road were shown in the presentations of the forum “China-Europe-Blocktrain— Bringing The Silk Road Alive”: via Siberia and Mongolia over the northern ports, through Kazakhstan to the southern ports, and the middle corridor in between with routes branching off. The Silk Road project, also known as the "One Belt, one Road”, is spurring the economy. Eighty Chinese cities are already connected with 50 destinations in Europe.
Whoever trades with each other starts no wars
In his presentation, Gennady Bessonov, Secretary General of the China Communications and Transportation Association CCTT, contributed his 22 years of experience in 23 countries and approx. 100 participating organizations on the podium. He knows the challenges of the Silk Road, starting with common timetables to the digitalization of processes and all the way to infrastructure development. He believes that this project combines not only economies, but also cultures with harmonized general conditions. Collaboration in addition to steady economic growth is perhaps the most important effect of the New Silk Road, according to the saying “Whoever trades with each other starts no wars.”
China is reaching out to European industry for return loads
As arguably the biggest economic development program since the Marshall Plan after the Second World War, the Silk Road has proven to be a success with its increasing volumes of goods. In 2018, there were 34 percent more TEUs than last year on the road (TEU container unit = “Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit”) between Europe and China with 350,800 containers. An increase of 51 percent and returns of approx. 23 percent were recorded in the direction of China. This shows that the new approaches and connections are taking effect. As a result, the growth rate at China Rail (CR) Express is currently at 112 percent. With a view to the end of subsidies, China is increasing reaching out successfully to industrial enterprises for return loads. This results in more and better intermodal connections and new routes that expand the success of the Silk Road further.
There is still more potential for increased quality
Dan Qi, General manager at Yuxinou, is one of the pioneers with new offers. He started with the first train in 2011. Today, his company runs trains regularly every week. In his experience, the market is developing fast, although there are many problems and obstacles. Overall there is still room for improvement in quality. “We are investing everywhere,” Hairong Chen of Sinotrans promised, which collaborates with Deutsche Bahn for better service and establishes logistics parks for more efficient operations at the end of the connections. He especially focuses on issues such as border processing, manpower training and digitalization to improve quality.
Invitation of China to the rest of the world
The willingness to collaborate with each other is increasing among all participants. The common goals are short lead times, secure deliveries and low freight rates. Consequently, the Silk Road is not hype that will soon be a thing of the past. To the contrary: The commitment of China continues unabated, and the country wants to be the innovation and market leader by 2035, according to the forum of the weekly magazine “Traffic”. As a thematically open, unlimited in time and regional program, the Silk Road is a very far-reaching project for more connectivity and with an incredible degree of potential from the perspective of the participants. They understand the Silk Road as a kind of invitation from China to the rest of the world that will pay off, despite challenges of a cultural nature.