The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and China’s European Ambitions
& Hercules Haralambides
Published: September 2019
Recent research shows that a 10% improvement in connectivity between countries along the “Maritime Silk Road” would deliver a 3% decrease in Chinese trade costs, which would in turn boost China’s imports and exports by around 6% and 9% respectively. We identify two ‘missing links’ of BRI: a) connecting the Caspian- to the Black Sea, from Turkmenistan to Romania (branching to Istanbul), and from there – through the port of Constanza and the Danube-Rhine fluvial corridor- all the way up to the North Sea, to Rotterdam in particular; b) connecting the Upper Persian Gulf port system to the Mediterranean. COSCO’s target for Piraeus is for it to become the biggest European port over the next decade, doubling its cargo handling capacity.