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New cargo railway routes from China to Europe to open

31 July 2015 15:00 (UTC+04:00)
New cargo railway routes from China to Europe to open

By Vusala Abbasova

New cargo railway routes from Xiamen (Fujian Province) in eastern China will open in August of this year that could expand economic cooperation between the members of "Economic Belt of Silk Road" and "Maritime Silk Road of the 21st century" projects.

The new cargo railway will significantly reduce transportation time between Xiamen and the countries of Europe and Central Asia.

A cargo train on the Xiamen-Chengdu (Sichuan Province), Southwest China-Europe route will take no longer than 15 days to complete its journey and only five days on the Xiamen-Central Asia route. The routes will be open once a week.

China is continuing to invest significantly into transport and energy infrastructures in Central Asia, proof of which can be the Atyrau-Alashankou oil pipeline and Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline, demonstrating an active trade policy toward Central Asia.

China emerged as a major economic player in Central Asia, driving billions into promoting Chinese-Central Asian trade. According to International Monetary Fund estimates, these investments reached $50 billion last year.

The trade volume between Europe and China is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2020, as the necessary transport infrastructure is being created in Kazakhstan, which is an active part of the new Silk Road of China.

At least 10 million tons of transit cargo and some $40 billion in foreign direct investment will go to Kazakhstan from the aforementioned transport infrastructure.

The development of the transport and logistics potential between the member-countries of the Silk Road Project allows for the creation of thousands of high-skilled jobs.

Recently, Beijing expressed its willingness to create six economic corridors to link Asia with Europe, including China-Mongolia-Russia; the New Euro-Asian land bridge; China-Central Asia-West Asia; China-Indochinese Peninsula; China-Pakistan; and China-Burma-Bangladesh-India, which are all part of the Silk Road Project, initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

Funding from the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Foundation will contribute to the realization of this project.

The notion of the Silk Road was reformulated and rephrased by China in 2013 under ‘one belt, one road’ initiative i.e. the economic belt along the Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road.

Earlier, the AIIB said that the total investments for ‘one belt, one road’ plan amounted to over $890 billion for 900 projects in 60 countries.

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