The first overland delivery of European goods bound for China arrived safe and sound last week, in a good omen for Europe’s hopes of making the East Asian superpower’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative a two-way street.
All it took was 12 days for a Dutch truck laden with automobile lubricant to make a 7,400 km journey from Germany to western China, via Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.
China’s hopes of using the so-called Belt and Road to tap into western markets is well known but Europe wants to make sure that the new silk road route functions in both directions, particularly after China ratified a UN convention on international road transport (TRI).
Last year, China made the first overland delivery under the TRI to Poland in 13 days, after Kazakhstan and China opened up the crossing at the border city of Khorgas in September.
Dutch company Alblas operated both trips and CEO Siebe Alblas said “we foresee a great future for road transport between China and Europe”, adding that the two pilots show that both routes are “ready to become fully operational”.
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