B&R News: Amid high expectation, Belt and Road Initiative brings more win-win results to Europe
15 May 2018



China's COSCO Shipping Taurus docks at Piraeus port, Greece, Feb. 26, 2018. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)




Proposed in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative is a grand infrastructure and trade project aimed at connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient Silk Road routes. It comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road

In late February, Germany Trade & Invest and Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) jointly published a study on the B&R Initiative, showing that 900 billion U.S. dollars had been invested in projects since 2013.


According to the study, the initiative creates a huge economic zone between Asia and Europe, serving as an important driving force for globalization.


Before China's COSCO Shipping came into the Piraeus port in Greece, the "Pearl of the Mediterranean" was listed 93 in the world ranking of cargo tonnage, and now it has climbed to the 38th. Cargoes loaded and unloaded at the port totaled 3.74 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in 2016, up from 880,000 TEUs in 2010, when COSCO Shipping's subsidiary Piraeus Container Terminal took over the management of Piers II and III.


COSCO Shipping is expected to help create 125,000 jobs in the region in the very near future.


In recent years, Duisburg suffered from faltering growth. With the help of the China Railway Express (CRE), volume at the Port of Duisburg grew by 30 percent in 2017, making it the fastest growing port in Germany.


More than 6,000 jobs in logistics have been created for the city, Johannes Pflug, responsible for China affairs in the Duisburg municipality, told Xinhua, adding "we are beneficiary of the CRE trains."


Matteo Bressan, an analyst at NATO Defense College Foundation based in Rome, cited various figures to show that the initiative affects billions of people and involves trillions of dollars in business.


"It is evident that with these numbers we are facing an ambitious project ... (which) encourages new forms of win-win cooperation," Bressan told Xinhua, noting that Italy faces a great opportunity to become a hub of Chinese goods with its ports.


The recreation of the ancient Silk Road evokes a past characterized by trade, mutual knowledge and cultural development, Bressan said, calling the initiative "unprecedented."


Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen (2nd R Front) and other guests inspect a new China-Europe freight train from Chengdu to Vienna at the Vienna South Freight Center in Vienna, Austria, on April 27, 2018. (Xinhua/Pan Xu)




On April 27, a new China-Europe freight train arrived in Vienna, carrying 41 containers of goods valued at 1.5 million U.S. dollars, and included LED displays, tires and lamps.


Departing from China's southwest city of Chengdu 15 days ago, the train traveled 9800 km through Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Slovakia before pulling into the Vienna South Freight Center.


The China-Europe rail service is considered a significant part of the B&R Initiative. It is expected to boost trade between China and Europe, China's largest trading partner.


For Kosta Gouliamos, rector of European University Cyprus, the initiative has shown its massive effectiveness of strengthening international cooperation.


He noted that during the past five years, especially after last year's Belt and Road forum, construction of numerous projects have commenced, and some of the projects had delivered real benefits to the locals and the regions.


"China's Belt and Road Initiative has triggered the impulse for modernization in the areas far beyond Asia," said Volker Dreier, deputy CEO of DIHK, adding that it has great importance to the whole Germany.


"The strength of companies from Germany and China can complement each other and there is great potential for them to build long-term win-win cooperation," Lothar Herrmann, CEO of Siemens Greater China, told Xinhua.


Carl Fey, professor of International Business at Finland's Aalto University School of Business, said he was impressed to see the initiative develop into "a very sophisticated policy with many details linking many important parts together."


Echoing Fey, Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, told Xinhua that the initiative is expected to enhance greater international cooperation while fostering ties between participating countries.


"I think the Belt and Road Initiative will support the multilateral framework, enabling participating countries to reinforce and use the international agreements that are in place," said Gurry.


Source: Xinhua News Agency