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Reliable freight routes will help Pakistan and neighbouring countries cut transportation costs, save time and ease mobility.
By Yasir Habib Khan
If CPEC is handled carefully and Pakistan is able to use it to its advantage, there is a fortune to be made in trade and the industrial market through one of its lesser known projects. This is the Silk Road Rail Network (SSRN), also known as the Eurasian Rail Project or Eurasian trans-continental rail transport network. It is meant to link Pakistan to Eurasian countries; including Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Turkey and Germany as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This massive overland railroad which will stretch from Myanmar to Germany only exists on paper today, but it is highly likely that it will see the light of day soon as the practical and theoretical issues associated with it have been smoothed out.
Robust and reliable freight routes will help cut transportation cost, save time and ease mobility. China and the Eurasian countries, which include Pakistan, will be able to exploit the SRRN and rejuvenate their economies and change the fate of the entire Eurasian landmass. 80 percent of global trade is currently executed through sea due to a lack of rail networks across the world. Once the SRRN is completed, global trade will be revolutionised. China Railways has already published its master plan for the SRRN, outlining all emerging rail routes. The railway will start at Kunming, the capital of China’s western Yunnan province and connect Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey before ending in the heart of Europe at Hamburg.
However, this project does not include the 1800 kilometre long rail line between Pakistan and China, which is specifically a part of CPEC. The SRRN is part of the Silk Road Train. There is already optimism regarding this plan, because freight trains have already journeyed from China to Europe in the recent past. 7500 mile long rail links are already operating within Suzhou, a major city in the South Eastern Jiangsu province, which leads to Warsaw.
A Russian convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine drives along a road in the direction of the border with Ukraine, after leaving Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Rostov Region.
KIEV, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- The infrastructure modernization in Ukraine will enhance the country's role in building the modern Silk Road, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said here on Friday.
"Modernization of the infrastructure will strengthen Ukraine's position as a key country at the New Silk Road," Groysman said at his annual press conference, according to the government's press service.
Ukraine cooperates with China and other countries on the joint development of the Belt and Road Initiative, Groysman said, adding that the modernization of road, railway and port infrastructure paves the way for Ukraine to become a Silk Road logistic hub.
China and Ukraine signed an action plan on jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road earlier this month during the Intergovernmental Commission on bilateral cooperation in Kiev.
This year, the Ukrainian government started a major modernization of the country's infrastructure, prioritizing projects on automobile roads, seaports and airports upgrade.
Next year, the Ukrainian government plans to focus on the modernization of rail network, the prime minister said.
NEW DELHI: Russia on Monday pitched for India joining China's One Belt One Road initiative and hoped that New Delhi will find a way out to benefit from the mega connectivity project without sacrificing its position on the issues flagged by it. In an address at a think tank, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said a sustainable security architecture in the Asia Pacific region cannot be achieved through "bloc arrangement", in a clear signal of Moscow's opposition to the quadrilateral grouping comprising the US, Japan, India and Australia.
"Russia has its own corridors and has large territory for such corridors and connectivity initiatives," Lavrov said when asked about possibility by Moscow joining China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of OBOR.
The visiting minister was answering a set of queries after delivering maiden Alexander Kadakin lecture organised by the premier think tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF). The comments by Lavrov on CPEC reflects that Moscow has different view on segments of the project. Kadakin, Russia's former Ambassador to India, died in harness on January 26 this year and was a batchmate of Lavrov in the erstwhile foreign service of Soviet Union.
Considered best India hand in the recent times among the Russian officials has also a road named after him in Delhi which Lavrov visited on Monday. Lavrov said Russia feels the concept is very interesting and needed to be explored in the context of building harmonious relationship for deeper regional trade and investment.
Lavrov said almost all the central Asian countries have already signed documents with China for cooperation in the OBOR while Russia and other members of the Eurasian Economic Union concluded economic cooperation agreement with it.
"I am 100 per cent convinced that India has enough very smart diplomats and politicians to find a way which will allow it to benefit from this process and at the same time not to sacrifice your position," the foreign minister said.
India has opposed the OBOR due to its sovereignty concerns over CPEC which passes through PoK. Referring to the RIC deliberations, Lavrov said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj "suggested" improving not only India-China ties but also India's relations with Pakistan.
Le projet OBOR (One belt, one road, ou nouvelle route de la soie, NDLR) a été salué comme une initiative de commerce et d'infrastructure d’envergure globale. Si cela est vrai, il représente également quelque chose de beaucoup plus large : un grand pas en avant dans l’ascension financière et monétaire de la Chine et pour l’émergence d’un monde vraiment tripolaire", assure Colm McDonagh, Directeur de la dette émergente chez Insight Investment (BNY Mellon IM).
Pour lui, ce projet de développement piloté par Pékin, qui consiste à déployer un réseau d'infrastructures transcontinentales, maritimes et terrestres, reliant l'Asie à l'Europe, va notamment accélérer l'internationalisation de la devise chinoise.
Sur ce point, "la Chine a déjà fait d'importants progrès. En octobre 2016, le FMI a officiellement rajouté le renminbi (RMB) chinois au panier de devises qui composent les droits de tirage spéciaux (DTS) – une étape significative marquant l'intégration de la Chine au système financier mondial".
De ce fait, Insight Investment (BNY Mellon IM) s'attend à voir émerger, une fois que le volume de dépôts mondiaux en renminbis aura atteint un niveau plus élevé, un nouveau marché d'Eurobonds libellé en renminbis – à l'image de celui libellé en dollars qui s'est développé en Europe pendant les années 1960s".
A terme, une fois que ces évolutions se seront matérialisées, Colm McDonagh estime qu'elles entraineront pour les investisseurs la nécessité de mettre en place une gestion des risques en obligations souveraines et obligations d'entreprises libellées en renminbis, "ce qui représente un changement radical des émissions en devise forte (en dollars ou en euros) qui caractérisent actuellement les marchés".
Copyright 2017 AOF
The joint research project by scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle and Nasa found major shipping lanes in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean saw twice as much lightning as nearby waters without the heavy traffic.
The two waterways have some of the busiest cargo transport routes on the planet, according to the researchers, who studied the locations of 1.5 billion lightning strikes from 2005 to 2016. A study by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in the US said that more than US$3 trillion worth of goods passed through the South China Sea last year alone.