Rolling, Rolling, Rolling: EU – China

The middle corridor of the new Silk Road handles much freight that was subtracted from the Northern Route via Russia. New train routes are planned.

How well do you know geography of the “-stan” countries? You better learn them fast – they are of growing importance.

EU and China share the interest to involve in more trade. Goods are mostly going from East to West. But not only. Chinese connaisseurs have discovered European vines, fashion itims from Italy, and of course fancy cars.  The volume of trade is growing steady, or to be open, even jumping to new heights. But, since the beginning of the Russian agression and war in Ukraine, trade on the Northern Route of the new Silk Road is hardly used, or say it mildly, not safe for trade.

Trade by sea from China to Europa takes several weeks. Trains are much faster. So, as a result of the war in Ukraine, the middle corridor of the new Silk Road is packed with goods, and prospects for the coming months indicate they will grow. Crossing the Chinese border, trains enter Kazakhstan, circumvent Russia, get on a feader ship in Atyrau, directed to Baku, Azerbaijan. The newly built harbor will handle the freight and send it by rail to Georgia, Turkey, and into Europe –  on the so called Middle Corridor.

Kazakhstan has extreme weather conditions, with over 40 C in summer and sometimes below -40 in winter. Special trains were built to withstand extreme weather, and extreme loads. With more freight to come, new railroad connections are being planned: From China through Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, on to Turmenistan and across the Caspian to Baku. And from there to Europe via Georgia and Turkey.

Roads in Georgia, such as the M1 ore overcrowded, trucks and trains run side by side, day and night. Turkey is facing a new challenge to handle all that, and its influence in Central Asia is growing week by week.

All are side effects of the Russian war in Ukraine. You better get yourslef auqainted to the “-stan”-countries

Also read:

Mutual interest: EU and Kazakhstan

Rolling, rolling, rolling…from Chingdau to Baku

Die goldene Brücke

SWP NO. 64, OCTOBER 2022. Russia’s War on Ukraine and the Rise of the Middle Corridor as a Third Vector of Eurasian Connectivity by Tiba Eldem

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