27 February 2017
The first transcontinental railway train between China and Europe arrived in London on January 18, 2017, exactly 18 days after it began its journey of 12,000 kilometres from Yiwu in eastern Zhejiang province, with its cargo of garments, bags and other consumer goods. The train, carrying 24 containers pulled by a German Deutsche-Bahn locomotive for its final leg, transited Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before arriving in Britain. A comparable journey by sea would take 30 days or more – though it could be carrying a staggering 20,000 containers.
The steel railroad across the Eurasian heartland symbolizing the new overland Silk Road – officially known as the Silk Road Economic Belt – partly realizes the Belt and Road Initiative vision of China, and includes the many high-speed rail projects embraced by much of Asia in the past decade. While the pioneer freight train service was welcomed with much fanfare in Great Britain and China, in reality, a number of obstacles lie on the less than smooth Silk Road.
… Wu Shang-su is a research fellow in the Military Studies Programme, and Alan Chong is an associate professor with the Centre for Multilateralism Studies, both within the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
CMS / GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 01/03/2017