A 21st Century Maritime Silk Road

Silk-Road-Map1Horgos is a Chinese frontier town near the Kazakhstan border. During the Tang Dynasty, Horgos was a major transit area along the Silk Road. Centuries left, the town’s population diminished and it was closed during the Cold War. Years later, Horgos saw expansion via the building of a gas pipeline, then a highway and then a railroad. China recently re-founded Horgos as their main land port for their new Silk Road Economic Belt. For example, cargo that traveled by rail from Horgos to Germany takes about 4 times quicker than only traditional ocean shipping from China.

It is clear that China is trying to create a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road by using transportation to connect the Pacific Ocean and all points East with points north towards the Baltic Seas and points south towards the Indian Ocean. For example, China is helping construct new ports in Southeast Asia. China is trying to build a reputation in Asia as the dominant economic source. And they are establishing new routes for trading of commodities, like energy, and new transportation where all points lead to China. This will improve China’s influence in Asia and their economic growth. Freight Forwarders are keeping an eye on this.

In addition, China is trying to create an Asian-Pacific free-trade deal, a $40 billion Silk Road fund and $50 billion Asian infrastructure investment bank as an alternative to the World Bank.

Horgos is only the beginning. For China, improved transportation links means a new Silk Road. If China’s economy grows from this, then it seems that many companies will want to ship ocean freight with China.

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