The Maritime Silk Road initiative of China is a mammoth effort to dominate trade and transportation. The whole plan is conceived on a massive strategic long term basis. It is almost as important as the previous massive Chinese initiative of becoming the global factory which was a success. This initiative has almost succeeded and huge sections of manufacturing, skilled staff etc. outside China have all been wiped out. Globally, if you need something, you must go to China.
The Maritime Silk Road initiative is also a master stroke in strategy by China. The basic principle is to connect China with Europe by land and sea. In order to facilitate this, China has invested unbelievable amounts to own or take controlling shares in a series of very important ports. For example, they have controlling interests in Piraeus Greece through their government company COSCO. The other ports are Gwadar in Pakistan and Hambantota in Sri Lanka. Chine Overseas Port Holding company has spent more than $4 Billion for stakes in 21 of the top 50 container ports. COSCO has invested in container terminals in Seattle and the Italian port of Vado among others.
One may wonder why China does this. The key strategic point here is that in all the ports where China has invested, their ships will have priority. This means Chinese cargo will move first in preference to all the other ships.
Not only this, if you control the ports you also have full information on other shipping lines, what they are carrying etc., a host of information on the business and transportation. China has even entered Djibouti and paid $185 million for a stake in this Red Sea port located in the Horn of Africa.
With the projected Maritime Silk Road initiative pf $4 Trillion, the Chinese will have a steel like grip on global transportation and consequent global business. The above is in addition to the rail link that China announced in January between Beijing and London, a journey that will take 18 days and cover 12,000 km while travelling through Asia and Europe.
As China marches on, the antagonists of Global trade will start looking very foolish in a few years. It is China that is looking like the global power with a global vision interested in global trade.
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