Transportation and the Belt and Road Initiative
(by Nicolas de Loisy)
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has received considerable critical attention from the infrastructure, political and media worlds. Most reports and articles on the subject are confused at best, when they are not completely misinformed or contradictory. To date there has been little agreement on the number of BRI projects, amounts spent, dates, and geographical distribution. A global information warfare campaign of mis-information, dis-information, and intoxication is currently at play about the BRI, which direct result is to confuse the situation even more...
This book critically examines what China’s BRI is about, clarifies the confusion, and answers many questions. It includes a first-time-ever-published list and statistical tables of all the BRI projects up to December 31st, 2018. A mixed-methods approach was used in the data analysis, and the theory of constraints underpins this research as a theoretical framework. BRI projects are classified by projects’ name, date, status, value, country, region, industry, and transportation mode.
Additional never-published-before tables describe seven transportation modes. These tables are instrumental to our understanding of the BRI and are unpacked and analyzed in great detail in one section of this book. This work also demonstrates how instrumental the BRI is to globalization, which in itself is conducive to humanity’s evolution. It describes humanity’s five key choke points, and apprehends how China and the BRI are addressing them.
In conclusion, we share an interview with a special Chinese lady, who benefits from a long China history’s oversight. She shows us the Chinese perception of China and of the world. She tells us what China’s point of view and ambitions are, especially as far as the BRI is concerned.
“It is an excellent, comprehensive and detailed treatment of the Belt and Road Initiative. This book is far more useful than almost anything written on the topic.” – Parag Khanna, Author of Connectography, New York, USA
“This exhaustive study belongs within arm’s reach on the desk and/ or nearby reference material shelf of any person or company involved in any manner, shape or form in the arena of “moving stuff”.” – Joel Laykin, Secretary General, Independent Power Producers Forum (IPPF), Hong Kong, China
“Nicolas approaches the infrastructure development with the perspective of humanity which is indispensable but sometimes may be overlooked. He also provides very unique and distinctive analysis on different methodologies adopted by China’s BRI and USA’s Pax Americana (through detailed examples in the five humanity chokepoints and seven modes of transportation) and how these two methodologies have impacted the beneficiaries. I trust this book would provide a good road map for policy makers and infrastructure developers in any developing countries amidst complex geo-political circumstances.” – Dr. D. J. Pandian, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Beijing, China
Book (paper editions)
We offer 2 paperback editions of this book: a color edition and a black & white edition (B&W). The color edition is much better to appreciate the maps, graphs and photos included in this book, while the B&W edition is cheaper.
We do not offer a Kindle edition of this book because our maps, graphs and tables are not supported by Kindle. Similarly, we do not offer the complete book in one digital file, but only in paperback format.
The digital edition of this book is offered chapter by chapter and table by table, which can be downloaded separately hereunder. The digital files are in PDF format, which supports our maps, graphs and tables, Once all the chapters and tables have been downloaded, you have the complete book in digital format.
Chapters (digital edition)
In order to get the digital edition of the complete book, you need to download these 12 chapters, with the last table named “Bundle other tables” (it includes 9 tables), and at least one of the tables from 1 to 7. The tables 1 to 7 are various angles of analysis of the totality of the BRI projects. Both paperback editions (color and B&W) include all the chapters and all the tables.
Each chapter is an excerpt of the book. It is not the entire book. Repeat, it is NOT the entire book! Each chapter is offered with the introduction, the conclusion, and the interview included. The icon shown is not the reflect of any chapter’s content, nor does it suggest that such graph exists in any chapter.
Tables (digital edition)
Each table is an excerpt of the book. It is not the entire book. Repeat, it is NOT the entire book! Each table is offered with the introduction, the conclusion, and the interview included. The last table named “Other tables” includes table 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 bundled together (see “List of tables” hereunder). The icon shown is not the reflect of any table’s content, nor does it suggest that such table exists in any table.
List of chapters
1. Introduction (included with every chapter and table in digital format)
2. Globalization (offered separately in digital format)
3. Vulnerabilities (offered separately in digital format)
4. Sea transportation (offered separately in digital format)
5. Rail transportation (offered separately in digital format)
6. Road transportation (offered separately in digital format)
7. Air transportation (offered separately in digital format)
8. Pipeline transportation (offered separately in digital format)
9. Grid transportation (offered separately in digital format)
10. Digital transportation (offered separately in digital format)
11. Sustainability (offered separately in digital format)
12. Governance (offered separately in digital format)
13. Ambitions (offered separately in digital format)
14. Conclusion (included with every chapter and table in digital format)
15. Interview (included with every chapter and table in digital format)
16. Statistical tables (offered separately in digital format; see list of tables)
17. Lists of Tables, Photos, Figures and Maps (included with every chapter and table in digital format)
Table 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 are offered together in a bundle in digital format as “Other tables”.
List of tables
Table 1 BRI projects listed by name (offered separately in digital format)
Table 2 BRI projects listed by date (offered separately in digital format)
Table 3 BRI projects listed by status (offered separately in digital format)
Table 4 BRI projects listed by value (offered separately in digital format)
Table 5 BRI projects listed by country (offered separately in digital format)
Table 6 BRI projects listed by region (offered separately in digital format)
Table 7 BRI projects listed by industry and transportation modes (offered separately in digital format)
Table 8 Transportation volumes (offered in a bundle in digital format)
Table 9 Transportation infrastructure (offered in a bundle in digital format)
Table 10 Transportation infrastructure costs (offered in a bundle in digital format)
Table 11 Transportation vehicles (offered in a bundle in digital format)
Table 12 Primary energy mix (offered in a bundle in digital format)
Table 13 Electricity mix (offered in a bundle in digital format)
Table 14 China oil and gas flows (offered in a bundle in digital format)
Table 15 Military power (offered in a bundle in digital format)
Table 16 BRI trade lane distances (offered in a bundle in digital format)
This book is aimed at practitioners, scholars, and experts in: policy making, government administration, infrastructure development, BRI, civil engineering, logistics, transportation, supply chain management, sustainability, warfare, defense, military, intelligence, security, risk mitigation, law, energy, electric grid, pipeline, sea-freight, air-freight, road transportation, rail transportation, digital world, internet, geostrategy, globalization, geopolitics, political science, business, economics, developing countries, social science, tipping points, ecosystem, water, collapse, society cycles, South China Sea, expansionism, and many more.
© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Introduction Transportation and the Belt and Road Initiative
At the time of this writing, ten books are being published on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), every week, in the world. Many are excellent reads and some are very well written, thorough and documented. But a majority are appalling projections of fears or a sorry expression of propaganda agendas on either side. No previous studies, to the best of the author’s knowledge, have been looking at the transportation angle of the story. None so far have published the BRI projects' list. None agree on the total amounts invested. And very few have been looking at the BRI from a global perspective.
This is the main reason why we decided to bring our two cents to the BRI equation. We present it from a holistic perspective, considering China, the USA, and the rest of the world as part of our planetary global ecosystem. We describe and explain everyone's function in humanity's ecosystem, not only at country level, but also through humanity's strengths and weaknesses. Based on solid and validated data and not less than the complete list of BRI projects, we show the real amounts involved, the actual focus of China, and the key role transportation plays within the BRI.
Although we strive to remain neutral, unbiased and non-partisan, we developed a story and propose some theories to entice the reader. At times, we take the liberty to express our own opinion, which is by essence questionable, might raise some contrary opinions, and stir debate. We show the reader how to discern true intent, which corresponds to walking the talk, from all the noise in most media, which is aimed at the naïve.
Launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was originally named the One Belt One Road (OBOR) or the "Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road". "Belt" refers to the overland routes, or the Silk Road Economic Belt; and "road" refers to the sea routes, or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (see Map 1).
As an infrastructure development program first, the Belt and Road Initiative affords China the benefit of focusing on the promotion of “win-win” economic results for BRI countries. Upon completion, the BRI should comprise 50 percent of the world’s GDP, 70 percent of the world’s population, 75 percent of the world’s energy reserves, and stretch from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Ultimately, it could end-up being global.
China has already committed an estimated USD 1 trillion (see Table 4 and Figure 2) through 743 BRI infrastructure projects in 84 countries (see Table 5). An estimated USD 8 trillion will be necessary to deploy it fully. The Asia Development Bank (ADB) mentions a need of USD 26 trillion investments in infrastructure on an equivalent region for the forthcoming 10 years. So this is just the beginning.
For the time being, these investments are dedicated to South East Asia for 25 percent, CIS and Central Asia for 24 percent, Africa for 18 percent, South Asia for 16 percent, Middle East for 14 percent, Europe for 2 percent, South and Central America for 2 percent, and Asia for another 1 percent of their value (see Table 6 and Figure 2). But as an inclusive globalization mechanism, the BRI is open to new countries willing to benefit from it.
Although far from being as integrated yet, the BRI follows the European Union model by facilitating the “4 freedoms”: circulation of people, goods, services, and finance. Facilitating transportation of people, goods, services, and finance is an inherent part of the BRI, even though it is still regulated at country levels and not yet federated.
Sea transportation is, as its name suggests, part of the “sea routes”. Road transportation, rail transportation, and inland waterways transportation are part of the “overland routes”. Air transportation, pipeline transportation, grid transportation, and digital transportation by cables and satellites in space are shared between “sea routes” and “overland routes”.
We consider that taking distances allows benefiting from a larger framework, which is necessary to understand the BRI. A distance that allows us to transcend time through history (see Figure 1), space over the mere geography of China, and concepts that morph the BRI into something else when looked at under another light. This shapes the story rationale in a way that gives more depth and meaning to certain aspects of the BRI, which may be of interest to the reader, and might even fascinate some.
The overall structure of the book takes the form of 17 chapters, including introduction and conclusion. Following this introduction, the second and third chapters analyze human globalization and its vulnerabilities, through a double reading matrix: humanity's five chokepoints and seven modes of transportation. The five chokepoints are water, emergy, transportation, digital and sustainability, and we show how their strategic importance is vital to the BRI deployment. The next seven chapters analyze in details each of the defined seven modes of transportation: sea, rail, road, air, pipeline, grid, and digital transportation. It shows their global footprint, their level of development in China, and their strategic role within the BRI, both as a global integration mechanism and as an extension of China's existing network.
Chapter eleven analyses the fifth humanity's chokepoint, sustainability, and how seriously China has been addressing it, despite and because of its high pollution levels, due to its being the world's factory for the past 50 years. Chapters twelve and thirteen describe China's governance and ambitions, as far as the BRI deployment is concerned. Now the conclusion at chapter fourteen is being followed by an interview with a special Chinese lady in chapter fifteen, which gives us an outlook of Chinese people's perception and consideration of the BRI.
We also felt it was crucial to add in chapter sixteen the complete list of BRI projects analyzed through seven different angles: alphabetical, date, status, value, country, region, as well as industry and transportation mode. Then we present our seven defined modes of transportation through their volumes transported, infrastructure built, infrastructure cost, and number of vehicles. To complete our informed argumentation, we also felt important to add tables on primary energy mix, electricity mix, China oil and gas flows, military power, and trade lanes distances. Most tables map the world, China, as well as the corresponding BRI projects and investments. The last chapter lists the tables, maps, photos, figures, bibliography, and index of this book.
About the author
Nicolas de Loisy is the President of Supply Chain Management Outsource (SCMO), a global network of professional firms providing advisory in logistics, transportation, and supply chain management.
He is also the Co-Founder of The Belt and Road Blockchain Consortium (BRBC), a collaborative consortium focusing on blockchain identity, governance, sustainability, and conflict resolution along the BRI.
He serves as Co-Chairman Alliances and Facilitation Committee, Co-Chairman Transportation Committee, Vice Chairman Blockchain Committee, Vice Chairman Belt and Road Committee, and Vice Chairman Sustainability Committee of the Independent Power Producers Forum (IPPF), an association specialized in the energy sector upstream, midstream, and downstream.
Nicolas is not an academic and has not published much books or articles. Although this is his first book, he has been publishing numerous reports and presentations to the advantage of clients, who generally keep it confidential, as they paid for it.
Moreover, he has been presenting at numerous conferences on various subjects such as Mongolia logistics infrastructure, railways China/ Europe, introduction to blockchain, blockchain in supply chain, sustainability and the convergence singularity, trade wars USA/ China, globalization, Belt and Road Initiative, transportation and the Belt and Road Initiative, and many other subjects regarding logistics, transportation, and supply chain management.
Nicolas's insights always go a bit further than the mainstream story. He takes us on a journey of discovery, which revisits our certitudes, and shows them under a new light. Strong from his understanding of ecosystems, he also shows us links between subjects and concepts we had not contemplated before. So we leave with a new understanding and knowledge that generate inspiration and creativity.