The new Silk Road is probably the largest infrastructure project of the millennium to date. With investments in hundreds of countries, China has been influencing international flows of goods since 2013, establishing global infrastructures and thus securing resources and influence.
One of the most important projects within the initiative is the reactivation of the old Silk Road, which was used in ancient times to trade between Asia and Europe, and today as a railway line for freight traffic. But many sea-based projects, such as investments in ports, are also part of it.
The New Silk Road Network (NSRN) was founded in Bremen in September 2019 with the aim of enabling companies to benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We talked to two of the founders, logistics expert Ziwei Liu and Alexander Hellmers, Head of Bremen-based Project Logistics Alliance.
Mr. Hellmers, what is the purpose of the network?
Hellmers: The BRI is Chinese driven – if you are a small European company that generates business mostly from its domestic customers, like a warehousing company, it is extremely difficult to get direct customers in China and therefore profit from the BRI. You don’t know who to talk to or how to get customers from China – you lack the local expertise and the market access. And you can’t physically be represented in China, because it is not feasible to operate your own office.
For these small and medium companies we are highly interesting. We have the ability to identify the important parts of the logistics chain. Not just in China, but say in Kazakhstan, Russia, Middle East, Poland. We provide the connections to the local train operators, warehouses, truckers, forwarders, operators, terminals, customs agencies etc.
Companies in our network can decide to who they want to talk to, if they want to expand their business and use the infrastructure of the BRI for their logistics chain. The focus of our network is not to collect as many people as possible, it is to create transparency and coverage along the BRI.