China continues to invest in infrastructure as it relates to the global supply chain. Through the so-called Belt and Road Initiative, which was first proposed in 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to improve China’s economic ties around the globe through infrastructure improvements and trade.
This week, the first freight train from China’s Yiwu West Railway Station in Zhejiang province to London launched. The trip, which will cover 8,000 miles, will pass through seven countries on its almost three-week journey. London is the 15th city to be added to the country’s European rail freight service.
By June 2016, the freight on these trains to Europe, which made 2,000 trips, accounted for $17 billion worth of imports and exports, according to CCTV.
The South China Morning Post reported that China is focused on shoring up ties with 60 key countries, including Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia with which it collectively expects annual trade to total $2.5 trillion within a decade, compared to $1 trillion in 2015. To spur the growth, Chinese institutions are underwriting many infrastructure projects across much of Asia.
(Related on SJ: Freight Rates Up And Rising For East-West Shippers)