OPPORTUNITIES AND OBSTACLES OF THE BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE (BRI) FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY
FROM THE MINUTES 2018
“China is trying to influence the world economy” through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), according to Françoise Nicolas. “It is trying to share its own practices and ways of doing things. It is a rule-setting exercise.” The BRI is a connectivity project between China and Europe. Through a series of transportation corridors, China is able to remain connected to Europe, shipping goods and services while implementing its economic practices across continents, thus reviving the old Silk Road trade routes.
ECONOMIC GROWTH MARCHING
The BRI has six overland corridors consisting of pipelines, rail and road, as well as maritime routes connecting China to the Mediterranean Sea. These corridors provide economic, transportation and ecological benefits for China and other Asian countries. The BRI is the continuation of existing agreements such as the Go Out Policy, which encourages the internationalization of Chinese firms, while boosting trade and stimulating economic growth. Through these pathways, Chinese firms will also be able to export overcapacities such as steel and cement. There are geo-economic objectives for the BRI, which include supporting the development of neighbouring countries, as well as exporting China’s economic experience.
A NEW ERA OF GLOBALIZATION
The BRI project aims to build massive amounts of infrastructure to improve connectivity between countries around the globe. According to McKinsey & Company consultants, this ambitious project has the potential to become the world’s largest platform for regional collaboration, involving about 65% of the world’s population.
BENEFITS OF THE BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE
The BRI is economic and political in nature and has numerous advantages for businesses and countries:
1 - FLEXIBILITY AND RELIABILITY
- Supports tight supply chain schedules
with on-time reliable inflow of goods
- Creates additional market
opportunities with faster delivery possibilities
- Avoids long deliveries and pickup from
shipping locations far away from ports
- Provides stability to supply chains
as the BRI rail is the most on-time shipping mode
2 - TRACEABILITY
- Tracks shipments with an advanced
track-and-trace system to ensure customers remain informed on the status of their shipment
3 - IMPROVED CAPITAL UTILIZATION
- Reduces freight costs as rail is 20%
less expensive than air transport
- Decreases transit time compared
to ocean freight, which can lead to reduced interest payments on loans
- Frees up capital for other activities
due to reduced transit time
4 - ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT
- Reduces CO2 and provides an
ecological advantage compared to air freight.
Rail freight generates:
- 12 times less CO2 than air transportation
- 25% less CO2 than sea freight
- emissions that are only 73.5%
of what sea emissions are, and 8.5% of what air transit emissions are
"You have to be aware of the durability of the belt and road initiative. The BRI is here to stay. It is president Xi Jinping's pet project" - François Nicolas
A BALANCED PERSPECTIVE
In a 2017 IFRI study, researchers highlight how the BRI is designed to serve the domestic economic interests of China, and expand on its geopolitical dimensions with regards to Russia, Turkey and Africa, as well as its impact on the livelihood of local populations.