The “New Silk Road” – the longest and largest trade route project in the world to-date, linking megacities in Asia and Europe together through China-Russian-EU G2G collaboration (cf. previous blog “The Western Europe – Western China Megaproject: The Journey From Europe To Asia”, July 20th). Such collaboration has given rise to significant new cities with logistics capabilities, manufacturing and international border trade development. Let’s explore a couple of them to find out which ones have what type of potential.
1. Lanzhou New Area, China
Lanzhou New Area is situated approx. 30 km from the center of Lanzhou, a major city on the historic Silk Road, the Yellow River cultural hub and one of China’s seven largest military cities. Lanzhou New Area was among the first areas in the Northwestern China in terms of development. With a landscape of both deserts and mountains spanning over 800 sq km, the arid Northwest was turned into a major artery for China’s ‘diamond’ of the New Silk Road vision. More than US$10 billion has been invested in infrastructure such as roads, railroads, airports, logistics hub and Free Trade Zone expected to facilitate the manufacturing of motor vehicles, machinery and petrochemical goods along with housing facilities for approx. 500,000 inhabitants by the time the project is completed according to plan, or, a population of 1 million by 2030.
2. Horgos/ Khorgos
The new Horgos/Khorgos Economic Zone is a trade and transportation hub in the Series-Atyrau Desert on the Chinese border with Kazakhstan. On the Chinese side of the border the city is Horgos, while on the Kazakh side; the Khorgos. This ‘absurd’ project, situated hundreds of kilometers away from civilization and the coast, is providing a new trade and trans-continental alternative. Like Lanzhou, Horgos/Khorgos is one of the original major trade hub on the ancient Silk Road, where traders from China and Central Asia meet to exchange/trade goods. Over time, however, trade faded away in surrounding aridity.
Both China and Kazakhstan have committed massive investments in the project to revive the city’s past glory and status as a buzzing hub that connects markets in China, Central Asia, South Asia and Europe through vital infrastructure such as China-Europe rail lines and Western-Europe – Western-China road ways. Consequential economic growth is expected from weekly transnational trains passing through the city and therefore ensuing industries and the construction of manufacturing plants and distribution centers, namely Toyota HP DHL and Alibaba. Development and investment in the city as close in size to New York City, have climbed to more than US$ 3.25 million so far. Horgos Chinese Population is expected to reach around 200,000 and around 50,000 in Kazakh port of Khorgos, turning the area in to a Free Trade Zone called the International Center for Boundary Cooperation.
3.Terespol Municipality, Poland
A European city on the New Silk Road, Terespol is situated on the border of Poland and Belarus and has become a major junction on this route linking overland and marine transportation. The Special Economic Zone links China ports with Rotterdam, the Dutch port city on Maas River and one of the world’s largest ports. With an estimated 30,000 population, Terespol is set to become a transportation hub for trans-Eurasian trains between China and Europe scheduled to stop for customs formalities for Europe-Russia trans-ship cargo and container transshipment.
4. Anaklia, Georgia
A seaside village in western Georgia near the Abkhzia border, Anaklia is developed with resorts, deep sea port and Free Industrial Zone. The latter, as Georgia offers the shortest Europe-China linkage explains the logistics facilities and readiness there. Anaklia’s deep sea port is expected to have a freight capacity of as large as 100 million tons, annually.
Azerbaijan is a country in the Transcaucasian Region, situated at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Southeastern Asia. Bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, it is set to function as the next station on the New Silk Road after Khorgos, a deep sea port in the Special Economic Zone. With the intention to make it a transportation hub on the route, the new port in its capital Baku is to be a vital part of the national strategy as far as oil and economic credibility is concerned, which has direct bearing on transnational transportation and trade. The country is expected to have the capacity of handling bulk cargo of 21-25 million tons and 1 million containers per year when development is complete and the project fully operational.
6.Colombo Financial City, Sri Lanka
Colombo Financial City is the result of a Sri Lanka-China joint venture with a Chinese investment worth US$ 1.4 billion, the largest foreign investment project in Sri Lanka’s history. It is situated in the Indian peninsular near India and on the route linking Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, the main station for energy supply to China from the Middle East and Africa. The fact that Sri Lanka was once a major marine transportation link of Eurosia led to China’s intention to expand on the development project to make the city a hub according to the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road project (a part of the New Silk Road) expected to become a major financial hub linking with Singapore to the east and Dubai to the west, which would enable the penetration into the great market of India.
The above only touches parts of the story behind the creation of more Dubais on the New Silk Road, and the megaproject’s political, economic, social and living standard potential for surrounding communities along the road. Developments are based on past success. Hindsight walks of the walk have proved vital for new inventions and the turnaround time required optimizing designs for the project with maximum 2Es (Efficiency and Effectiveness). It remains to be seen; to what economic and environmental extent each community on the New Silk Road will thrive, and to what extent Thailand will be involved the project takes off. It seems it has already, bit by bit with frog-leap expansions. SCG will keep you posted with the latest.
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Reference and Pictures by forbes.com, wiki.com, ndtv.com, asianews.network, mnpea.gov.lk, kids.nationalgeographic.com, srilankamirror.com