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Polar Silk Road – The Next Ambitious China’s Project

Polar Silk Road – the next ambitious China’s project

Beijing, China (PortSEurope) March 5, 2021 – Creation of a Polar Silk Road is China’s new ambitious transportation project, according to the draft of the 14th five year plan (2021-2025) for national economic and social development and the long-range objectives through the year 2035. The Polar Silk Road project comes 10 years after the start of China’s new Silk Road idea, part of the Belt
and Road initiative also known as One Belt, One Road, or OBOR – Beijing’s economic strategy to seek better access for Chinese-made products in European markets, which includes acquiring stakes in ports and other transport facilities, and cooperation agreements with countries along Silk Road routes. The country will also actively participate in the development of Arctic and Antarctic regions. According to the draft, China would “participate in pragmatic cooperation in the North Pole” and “raise its ability to participate in the protection and utilisation of the South Pole”. The plan includes the creation of new freight routes linking Asia and Europe via the Northeast, Northwest, and Central Passages of the Arctic. Reducing China’s dependence on the Malacca Strait is critical for Beijing. The maritime shipping distance from Shanghai (China) to Hamburg (Germany) is about 4,000 miles shorter via the Arctic Northeast Passage than the southern route through the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal. A long-term goal for China is the Northern Sea Route, which by 2030 may be fully ice free – earlier than the Northwest Passage or Transpolar Sea Route – shortening shipping distance from China to the Netherlands by 23%. The route would reduce China’s dependence on the Southern Sea Route, which has several chokepoints aligned with the United States. The limitations of Arctic sea routes include harsh conditions, more icebergs due to melting of Greenland’s icecap, higher insurance premiums, lack of infrastructure and shallow depths. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2021

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