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American Transportation Journal: West Waking Up to Opportunities of the Belt and Road

Dec. 27, 2017 (EIRNS)—A blog posted today to the website of the American Journal of Transportation (AJOT), titled "2017: the year the West woke up to the opportunities of the Belt and Road," describes the vast scope of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), noting that Western companies and experts are now "scrambling to catch up, in part due to the realization that the initiative looks set to transform East-West trade flows and terminal operations."

It’s clear, the author says, that there is a reorientation of global trade taking place toward the East, which, aided by the BRI, has "reshaped the port infrastructure landscape." Opportunities "are ripe for companies who can position themselves to take advantage of the challenges." Noting tremendous Chinese investments in nations such as Malaysia and Pakistan, and recent acquisitions of terminal interests in Sri Lanka, Spain, Belgium, and Brazil, the author reports that among them, COSCO Shipping Ports, Shanghai International Port Group, and China Merchants Port Holdings have now invested in nearly 40 overseas port locations.

Thus, he concludes, the BRI "promises to be a game-changer" for the port infrastructure and seaborne trade industries that are leading to "shifts in the flow of global trade." Look at the fact that, following the 2015 merger of COSCO and China Shipping, the new combined entity is now on track to become the biggest global container terminal operator, by capacity, by 2020.

"The gauntlet has been thrown down to other port operators to respond to Chinese investment that is dominating the headlines."

As for the future, there is every indication that the market will continue to grow in absolute terms, "displaying that the Belt and Road is triggering a range of opportunities that transcend the fate of individual ports."