Belt and Road Forum

Projects span rail, ports, industrial parks

In Pakistan, a trade route was inaugurated last November to link its Gwadar port (above) with Kashgar, a city in China's north-western Xinjiang region.
In Pakistan, a trade route was inaugurated last November to link its Gwadar port (above) with Kashgar, a city in China's north-western Xinjiang region.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • China's Belt and Road initiative spans some 65 countries representing 60 per cent of the global population and around a third of global gross domestic product (GDP).

The China Development Bank alone has earmarked US$890 billion (S$1.2 trillion) for some 900 projects.

Here are some projects involving a land "belt" and a sea "road" that link China to countries in Asia, Europe and Africa:

TRAINS

• The China-Europe Railway Express includes 51 rail links connecting 27 Chinese and 28 European cities, with freight trains that offer shorter transport time than sea routes.

  • 65

    Number of countries the Belt and Road initiative involves

    900

    Number of projects the China Development Bank is supporting with some $1.2 trillion

 
 
 
 

• A planned 418km rail line between the Asian giant and Laos is aimed at becoming the first overseas route that connects with the vast rail system in China.

• An 873km high-speed railway project between China and Thailand will link the Chinese border to Thailand's ports. It will transform south-western Yunnan province into a trading hub that exports China's goods to South-east Asia.

• Nepal is in talks with China to build a cross-border rail link that may cost up to US$8 billion, with funding expected after the Himalayan country signs up formally for the Belt and Road plan. The proposed 550km railway would connect China's western Tibet region to Nepal's capital of Kathmandu.

• In Africa, the initiative will include a 471km railway between Kenya's capital, Nairobi, and its port of Mombasa on the Indian Ocean coast. The railway is expected to carry 25 million tonnes of cargo per year.

SEA PORTS

• Three state-owned Chinese enterprises have bought Turkey's third-largest port, Kumport, which is considered an important joint between the "belt" and the "road".

• In Pakistan, a controversial trade route was inaugurated last November to link its Gwadar port, on the Arabian Sea, with Kashgar, a city in China's north-western Xinjiang region.

The economic corridor has alarmed India because it cuts through disputed territory in Kashmir that New Delhi claims is illegally occupied. The port will provide China with safer and more direct access to the oil-rich Middle East than the sea trade route it currently uses through the Malacca Strait.

Central to the project in Pakistan is the renovation of a 487km road that is part of China's only land passage to the Middle East.

INDUSTRIAL PARKS

• China and Malaysia are building an industrial park in Kuantan, Malaysia, for steel, aluminium and palm oil processing

• In eastern Europe, ground was broken in July 2014 in Minsk for a China-Belarus industrial park for high-tech businesses, the largest one built by the Asian country overseas.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2017, with the headline 'Projects span rail, ports, industrial parks'. Print Edition | Subscribe