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Alibaba to use Silk Road to boost SME trade

Alibaba CEO Jack MaChinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is planning to leverage China’s Belt and Road initiative to help the country’s SMEs boost levels of international trade, according to reports in China Daily this week, with CEO Jack Ma urging policy makers and business leaders to create new rules and laws to strengthen trade and development. 
“We have plans (more…)

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First train leaves UK on New Silk Road

London to Yiwu trainThe first ‘Silk Road’ rail freight service from Britain to China pulled out of the DP World London Gateway rail terminal in Essex yesterday laden with pharmaceuticals, whisky, soft drinks, vitamins and baby products at the start of its maiden 18-day 7,500-mile journey to Yiwu in the central province of Zhejiang. After passing through the Channel Tunnel into France and on to Belgium, the train will call in Duisburg, Germany from (more…)

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Australia rebuffs China over Silk Road

Li Keqiang and Turnbull Australia 230317China is expected to suffer a rare setback in its drive to develop its $4trn One Belt One Road global trading, transport and logistics network this week during Premier Li Keqian’s visit to Canberra, with an unnamed Australian officials predicting that Australia will rejected Beijing’s request for its $3.8bn Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility infrastructure fund to be formally aligned with the New Silk Road strategy . The rebuff comes amid concerns that such a move could damage relations with the US at a time when Australia is pressing Washington to bolster its presence in the region and taking a tougher line on inward investment from China.
S Kidman & Co cattle farmLast year, the Canberra government blocked two potential Chinese acquisitions – bids in excess of $7.6bn for the Ausgrid electricity company due to be submitted by the State Grid Corporation and the Hong-Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure company; and attempts by a Chinese consortium to purchase the S Kidman & Co cattle farm that stretches across more than 1% of Australia’s land mass.
The debate over whether Australia should align its state infrastructure fund with One Belt One Road follows on from Canberra’s hesitation over joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). In 2014, Australia initially decided not to join following lobbying by the US and Japan, but eventually relented after the UK and several other western nations broke ranks and signed up.

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EU investigates Chinese plans for Belgrade to Budapest rail link

Belgrade to Piraeus rail linkChina’s plans to build a 350km, $2.89m high-speed railway between Belgrade and Budapest are under investigation by the authorities in Brussels on the grounds that they may fall foul of EU laws which stipulate that transport projects of this magnitude should be put out to public tender.
An MoU (more…)

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Barking welcomes first direct Silk Road freight train from China to London

Chinese dragon greets china-london freight train 180117A crowd of politicians, journalists and local residents – some dressed up as Chinese dragons – turned up at the Barking Intermodal Terminal in east London yesterday to welcome and watch as the the first ever freight train to come direct from China to the UK arrived, carrying approximately £4m worth of socks, cloth, bags, and household goods.
Yiwu Factory making SantasPulled (more…)

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Malaysia looks to Strait of Malacca for slice of Maritime Silk Route action

Ships in Strait of MalaccaThe Malaysian government is looking for investors to back its plans to develop a giant new deep-sea port and industrial city at Carey Island, some 70km south west of Kuala Lumpur on the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channel – and one which is central to China’s ambitions to develop the Maritime Silk Route Economic Belt.
The port itself (more…)

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London joins New Silk Road

Silk Road TrainNew Silk Road: London is set to become the latest and 15th European city to feel the impact of Chinese plans to create a 21st-century equivalent of the ancient Silk Road trade route later this month after the China Railway Corporation announced that it had launched the first direct rail freight service to the UK’s capital from Yiwu West Railway Station in Zhejiang Province. Carrying (more…)

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First convoy arrives in Gwadar down China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif at CPEC inauguration Gwadar 13-11-16China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Pakistani’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weeding joined other senior officials from both countries this week at the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar to watch as the first containers full of Chinese goods arrived for loading onto two ships – also Chinese – for export by way of the nascent China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The trade convoy (more…)

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German consortium ready to fund Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway

Moscow to Kazan High Speed Train Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway: The German Initiative consortium, whose members include Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Bahn is getting ready to put around €2.7bn behind the Moscow-Kazan high speed railroad project, (more…)

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Kazakhstan to increase Silk Road container capacity tenfold by 2020

Minister of Investment and Development Zhenis KassymbekKazakhstan has signed up to increase the volume of container shipments that it processes on the new Silk Road between China and Europe from a current yearly total of 70,000 this year to 800,000 by the end of the decade, (more…)

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Poland and Hungary sign up to Trans Caspian International Transport Route

TITR RouteTrans Caspian International Transport Route: The dream of a new “joined up” 4766km intermodal transport running from China to Europe bypassing Russia came one step closer to fruition yesterday when rail operators in both Poland and Hungary signed up to the scheme. (more…)

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Dhaka hoping for $40bn infrastructure boost from Xi visit to Bangladesh

Bangladesh TrainsXi visit to Bangladesh: As President Xi Jinping prepares to become the first Chinese head of state to set foot in Bangladesh in 30 years, expectations are high among officials in Dhaka that his visit could see their impoverished country secure as much as $40bn in loans to help it make some much-needed improvements to its infrastructure. (more…)
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Japan looking to hook Hokkaido up with Trans-Siberian Railway

Sakhalin and HokkaidoJapan is considering joining forces with Russia to build an extension to the Trans-Siberian railway to the islands of Sakhalin and Hokkaido, (more…)

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Swiss win Aprin dry port contract as Iran’s non-oil exports boom

North_South_Transport_Corridor_(NSTC) (1)Aprin dry port: The Swiss-based transport and logistics multinational Transinvest Holdings has signed a 25-year contract with Iran’s Perse Transport Bar for the development of a 700-ha dry port some 20 km south of Tehran. On completion, (more…)

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AIIB membership set to rise by over 50%, President predicts

AIIB President elect Jin LiqunAIIB membership: The number of AIIB member states is likely to rise from 57 to almost 90 by the end of the year, AIIB President Jin Liqun told a side meeting at the World Economic Forum’s annual New Champions meeting in Tianjing this week. “We have almost 30 countries (more…)

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Chinese Silk Road investment up 20% to $15bn, claims President Xi

Xi addresses Uzbek parliament 22 06 16Silk Road investment: Chinese companies invested nearly US$15bn in countries along the new Silk Road last year, 20% more than in 2014, President Xi Jinping told a special session of Uzbekistan’s parliament yesterday. Trade between China and participating countries topped the $1trn mark in 2015, he added, and (more…)

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Presidents Xi and Karimov bless opening of 19km Qamchiq rail tunnel

Qamchig rail tunnelChinese President Xi Jinping and Uzbek President Islam Karimov this week used a video link to watch the official opening of the Qamchiq railway tunnel, a key link in the Angre-Pap line connecting the Uzbek capital of Tashkent with Namangan. The tunnel, which runs (more…)

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$100m CAREC motorway becomes first ADB-AIIB co-financed project

CAREC Transport corridor CAREC motorway: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday agreed to lend Pakistan $100m to complete the remaining 64km section of the M4 motorway linking the towns of Shorkot and Khanewal in the province of Punjab, giving it the distinction of being the first project to be co-financed by the ADB and the newly established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Pakistan’s Secretary for Economic Affairs Tariq Bajwa and ADB Country Director for Pakistan Werner E. Liepach signed the loan agreement during a ceremony which was also attended by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar and ADB Vice President Wencai Zhang.
“Pakistan must grasp the opportunities presented by its strategic location. Investments in transport and connectivity under the framework of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programmes, as well as other regional cooperation initiatives,” ADB Vice President Wencai Zhang at the signing.
The project marks ADB’s first co-financing agreement with the AIIB which is expected to approve the $100m at a board meeting later this month. The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) has also committed a $34m grant for the project. ADB will administer both the AIIB loan and the DFID grant. The project is part of the 1,800 km CAREC transport corridor linking the port city of Karachi in the south, to country’s inland urban centres and onward to Afghanistan and the Central Asia countries.

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EBRD signs MoU with Silk Road Fund in boost to One Belt One Road initiative

EBRD VP Phil Bennet and Silk Road Fund Wang Yanzhi 150616The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) yesterday signed an MoU with Beijing’s Silk Road Fund in a move that is expected to give added impetus to China’s One Belt One Road initiative, the EBRD press office said.
Under the terms of the MoU, (more…)

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Khorgos – Eastern Gate SEZ operational in months

Khorgos Free Economic ZoneThe Khorgos – Eastern Gate SEZ, the massive logistics and industrial zone on Kazakhstan’s border with China, will be up and running by September according to the Managing Director of the country’s Samruk-Kazyna sovereign wealth fund. Development of the zone, (more…)

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