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Dreams of a "New Silk Road" and the reality of the Trans-Siberian route
Material posted: Publication date: 17-12-2015
Last Sunday was a holiday in Tbilisi. December 13 so-called "New Silk Road" arrived there first container train «Nomad Express» from China. Together with Georgians rejoiced Wall Street Journal, The Econimist, Bloomberg and other Western publications, excited the news that the Chinese found the transit to Europe bypassing Russia.

Circulation for three seas

Comments and local politicians sufficed. The Prime minister of Georgia Irakly Garibashvili, for example, declared that now delivery of cargoes from Pacific coast to Europe will occupy two weeks instead of one and a half months, and was lost in day-dreams: «Georgia will soon turn to the multiregional centre connecting Europe, East Asia, India, the Central Asia and the Near East».

Garibashvili has modestly held back that to Turkey the Chinese containers will send on courts from the Black Sea ports. The promised railway of Baku - Tbilisi - Kars while and remained the non-realised project. Its start-up in operation at the best will take place only next year.

Train with the Chinese containers in Tbilisi at all the first. There were already two structures which have arrived from Urumchi through Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan (they have overcome Caspian sea on ferries) in August and October. Structures with 44-mja containers in everyone have passed a route in a test mode. Turkey was its final point. Till the end of December through Georgia will pass one more structure with the Chinese containers. In 2016 transit transportations on this route should become regular.

News has raised not only the western mass-media, but also the Russian observers. The network was captivated by the comments which authors minced words also estimations a little. Wrote that Chineses have thrown Russia, have spat it. Blamed the Kremlin that he has not found time to construct normal transcontinental road between the Far East and the European part of the country, has not reacted to signals to cooperation which were submitted to Moscow by Beijing. As a result, China has chosen a way for the goods bypassing Russia, has founded a logistical consortium of the Transcaspian transport route China - Turkey - Europe. As partners of Chineses Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey here have acted.

It would be possible and to continue further the list of claims of commentators to the unreasonable Russian power. The sense in that big is not present. First, the competence of authors has confused. They have got confused in two roads - a transcontinental motorway and the Trans-Siberian trunk-railway., As it is known, containers have brought to Tbilisi not on automobile platforms, and on the railway. Secondly, it is the Georgian prime minister can run from ecstasy in sofistiku, the reality shows absolutely other.

Responsible experts confirm: «the Transcaspian route in a reality does not exist». For example, the chairman of board of directors of analytical bureau "ДОРН" Andrey Karpov names transportation of cargoes from China on the European markets on "a southern" route bypassing Russia economically unprofitable and improbable. Carps, considers that it is a reserve variant of delivery of the Chinese goods to Europe. The route lies through Caspian and black exhausting, crosses five frontiers instead of two, and «each superfluous transfer of cargo in port raises cost of its delivery».

The general director of research agency InfraNews Alexey Bezborodov otmechet: «It while a nonexistent route. There there is infrastructure, ports, shots and still no weight of all». According to Bezborodov, the idea for transportation of cargoes from Asia on "a southern" route through Transcaucasia was put forward still in the eighties the last century. «For almost 30 years has changed nothing, - the expert underlines. - in the Caspian ports of Baku and Aktau still there are no necessary technologies on processing of container cargoes».

But has put at all in it. The multivector logistics of delivery of the goods gains the increasing distribution in the modern world. To take, for example, the Russian deliveries of gas to Europe. Today they are adjusted at once on three routes. There is a variability and in the Chinese export policy. However the main overland route in it was and remains Russian.

The account yet in favour of the railways

The president of Open Society "Russian Railway" Oleg Belozerov in the middle of November has acted in Vienna at plenary session of Coordination council on the Trans-Siberian transportations and has cited the fresh data of transit container transportations from China on the Trans-Siberian Railway. This year they have grown for 89 percent. From January till September it is transported 66 thousand containers that on 11 thousand more than for all 2014.

During the current year to regularly operating container services of the message China - Europe - China (- Lodz, Suzhou - Warsaw, Chungking-Duisburg, Cheng-chou - Hamburg, Wuhan - Pardubice) is organised by Chendu new container service in the message China - Spain (Iu - Madrid). Except other, the route China - Finland is fulfilled. From boundary station Zabajkalsk with China to station Buslovsky on the Russian-Finnish border the transit container train goes only eight days.

This autumn the Incorporated transportno-logistical company has organised delivery of container trains from the Chinese port of Yingkow to Moscow. Other Asian partners are not forgotten also. As Oleg Belozerov has noted, within the limits of the project «the Trans-Siberian Railway for 7 days» the Russian railways have introduced a new transport product «Baikal the Shuttle» for transportation of Japanese and Korean cargoes from port Yokohama to Moscow.

All these operating routes multiply, in times (today the account goes on one thousand), block possibilities of the Transcaucasian transport corridor. New ways of container trains are developed also. For example, from this the West Chinese Urumchi through Kazakhstan, Southern Ural Mountains on ports of Leningrad region and Petersburg.

The Russian railways develop the infrastructure. The railway bridge Nizhneleninsky-tuntszjan now is under construction. He will allow to spend cargoes from China through the Jewish autonomous region on the Trans-Siberian Railway. The Trans-Siberian highway is reconstructed. This year for these purposes it is allocated by 16 billion roubles.

Expert Andrey Karpov already mentioned here considers such investments insufficient and in something overdue: «If we podsuetilis also have enclosed ten years ago the superincomes of oil in modernisation BAMa and the Trans-Siberian Railway, is more system have approached to this question now Russia could offer China a ready infrastructure».

At the same time and China does not hurry up yet to translate the commodity streams from the sea on a land. Reasons in that simple: today container delivery on the sea manages to the cargo owner in three thousand US dollars, a railway route - eight-nine thousand dollars. Far not each product of the Chinese factories is worthy of it three times to overpay for its delivery.

Nevertheless, a cargo transportation between China and Europe grows. It is expected that by 2020 they it is reached 170 million tons. Today the Trans-Siberian Railway pulls on itself only percent from this weight. Transcaucasia as we remember, only has designated the route. The account yet in favour of the railways. Though speed of delivery here impresses. For example, the container train following from Cheng-chou (China) in Hamburg (Germany) goes 13−14 days. On the sea the Chinese goods arrive to Europe for 40-60 days. Speed of delivery and the comprehensible price should promote reorientation of goods traffics from the sea on a land.

The economy has intertwined with geopolitics

Last years China became the largest exporter, its influence on world economy has increased. But also dependence has increased - from the raw markets, from communications. It is quite natural that Chineses try to minimise the risks. Not casually all conversations about «the New silk way» to lips of the Peking politicians it is enough variativny. Among mentioned routes there is our Trans-Siberian Railway, a way to Europe through Kazakhstan and Southern Ural Mountains, transportations across Caspian sea and Transcaucasia, the route through Iran - the Near East is known also. At last, delivery by the sea with processing of cargoes in the ports of Indochina prepared for this purpose too name «a silk way».

Let's notice, almost all routes of the Chinese goods are focused on a continental land. Here that the authoritative Chinese expert in a world financial system of Sun Hunbin speaks about it. He has managed to predict world financial crisis of 2008-2009 and became recognised world authority.

Sun Hunbin considers that throughout last 500 years the world is supervised by sea powers. China does not have the big sense to arrange competition on this direction. But there is a reason actively to use continental open spaces. On them it will not be possible to bypass the largest territory of a planet which Russia possesses. Interaction and cooperation of our countries is caused not only the Russian scales, but also resources of oil, gas, raw materials for the industry which are not present at China.

«Eurasia has all necessary resources - natural, technological and human - for the development, - spoke one of these days Sun Hunbin in interview to the newspaper« Sight ». - And if there will be a developed high-speed railway it will finish an epoch of sea powers, and the power over world economy will pass to the continental countries».

The Chinese financier thereby has slightly opened a veil over true plans of the country. «A new silk way» - not simply route for a transfer of the goods from China to Europe. Its ideology means technical and technological break in logistics that for two-three days the goods reached from coast of Pacific ocean the European consumers. The high-speed trunk-railway becomes a key sign of innovation on it «a silk way».

It is possible to guess, as Russia will be entered in new strategy of China and whether will be entered in general. Appreciable restraint of the Russian heads in the relation to projects «New silk way» was explained during recent television press conference of the Chairman of the government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. Our prime minister has made for itself opening that Russia the self-sufficient country. So, it is necessary to it to look at partners not from below upwards, and, considering national interests, to co-operate with them exclusively as equals.

Sun Hunbin agrees with it: «Russia has advantages in front of China - the big territory and resources. China does not have gas and oil, and it depends also on the export markets of the USA and Europe. Therefore the Russian political elite is not afraid to go on confrontation with the West».

To other applicants for participation in the Chinese geopolitical projects such it is hardly accessible. For them happiness - to receive the share of the Chinese economic pie. But only the. We from us will not leave. The authoritative Chinese financier therefore speaks in plural about the power of the continental countries understands it also.

Gennady Granovsky

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