The Belt and Road Initiative can come across as a beast with unimaginable beginnings and ends. On the contrary, the BRI is a clear channel of networks with immense possibilities. When initiated in 2013, the Chinese government had a singular aim of deploying developmental strategies over a global scale, which involved bringing development to regions and parts of the world that are generally ignored by the mainstream global politics. At the same time, they wished to integrate folds of the population who are deprived of resources and connectivity.
So, the BRI is not just a strategical geopolitical move, but also an opportunity for us in the supply chain industry. Extrapolating the know-hows of the BRI is essential for our businesses and growth. A simple way to do that is to begin by understanding the BRI Corridors in development. An economic corridor is primarily defined as networks of infrastructural developments along a geographic region, that boosts economies of the area and contributes to global trade.
Five corridors are central to the BRI:
1. The New Eurasia Land Bridge Economic Corridor
As the most active corridor, it consists of vast networks connecting many Chinese cities to those in Russia and Europe. It is about 11,870 km long starting from Lianyungang to Rotterdam, with many hubs on the route, along with other branches connecting various cities in China and Europe. There are many Free Trade Zones along the routes, which provide tax incentives. Along the China-Kazakhstan Border, you can find the EPZ based in the city of Yili. Each country along the route has these special economic zones that accommodate various needs.
2. The China-Mongolia-Russia Corridor
The idea for this corridor was proposed in 2014 and the construction is already underway. This corridor aims explicitly to provide Mongolia with infrastructural development in terms of railways, telecommunication, energy setups, trade, environmental protection and cultural exchange. Mongolia will benefit from acting as a hub between China and Russia. The first route begins from Tianjin, China to Hohhot in Mongolia and onwards to Russia. The next route begins from the Chinese city of Dalian, through Mongolia and all the way to Chita in Russia. With the development of China’s first unified railway to Mongolia, which began in 2016, it will be the second-longest line between China and Mongolia, turning Erenhot as an important port for both China and Russia.
3. The China-Central Asia-West Asia Corridor
Replicating the ancient Silk Road, this corridor is another one of the main routes that cover countries like, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. This corridor opened the economies of these Central Asian States and increasing trade. The passage is a vast network of rail lines, telecom networks and energy structures.
4. The China-Indochina Peninsula Corridor
The focus of this corridor is the growth of the Mekong region and development of motorways, airways and railways between China and the ASEAN nations. It also focuses on free trade agreements between these countries for trade development in the region. The infrastructures in construction are the rail links between Thailand and Laos and another from Singapore to Kunming. A high-speed connection between Singapore to Kuala Lumpur has also been proposed.
5. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
This is one of the fastest developing corridors under the BRI. From the Chinese city of Kashgar to the Gwadar port in Pakistan, this corridor provides an array of highways, optical fibre networks, railways, international airports and finally energy power plants. Gwadar is now on its way to become a special economic zone. The corridor serves many advantages to the developing trade and commerce between China and Pakistan. However, as the corridor passes through the disputed territory of Kashmir, there are some concerns raised over the development in that region.
The estimated completion of all BRI projects is 2049, coinciding with one hundred years of People’s Republic of China. Till then, the BRI is a live specimen, growing and changing every day. The fast pace of these developments and variety require all of us to keep abreast with these changes, thereby opening new doors for all. At NSRN, we aim to keep you informed about all that BRI entails, sparking your business ideas and giving wings to your firms.