Aims

  • Document the ongoing infrastructure integration through the people, places and companies forging the Silk Road Economic Belt

  • Gauge perceptions of China growing global presence

  • Interview the key players at the individual project level to see how the separate components differ from the initiatives overarching theory.


The Project

Of the five economic corridors that constitute the Silk Road Economic Belt our trajectory will follow its major artery across Eurasia. Over two months this expedition will be the first to travel the entire length of the Silk Road Economic Belt starting in London and finishing in Yiwu in Eastern China. Along the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor (CCWAEC) we will visit ancient Silk Road centres as well as further infrastructure projects including major railway upgrades, seaports, intermodal hubs, industrials parks and residential developments. Through Europe we will trace the New Eurasian Land Bridge Economic Corridor (NELB) and the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor (CCWAEC) in Asia. This will provide the opportunity to compare economic corridors, evaluating them in relation to one another. London and Yiwu, our chosen start and end points, reflect the termini of the direct Britain-China freight route, stimulating trade between the two nations and connectivity across Eurasian land bridges.

We will drive the entirety of this route aiming to visit over two dozen infrastructure projects along the way. The overwhelming majority of these projects include direct Chinese participation or partial ownership making them integral to our investigation. However, we will not disregard important developments, such as the Astara Railway Bridge, which are contributing to building connectivity across Eurasia and building a new Silk Road in a broader sense. By visiting these hubs, we hope to build a more coherent picture of the change underway across the region.