Edited by Bruce A. Blonigen and Wesley W. Wilson
Chapter 21: Euro-Asian overland transport links: prospects and challenges
International trade has sustained growth over the past 60 years and has had a strong impact on the demand for transport services. Historically, maritime transport has dominated transportation between Europe and Asia (over 90 per cent). But the Silk Road existed for centuries, although it has been scaled down since the fifteenth century. However, the importance and use of the New Silk Road is gaining momentum and offers a viable alternative to maritime transport, but only for a limited range of goods. Still, businesses are increasingly using overland transport for trade in either direction. Huge investments in the Euro-Asian rail and road infrastructure are under way. This is also supported by trade and transport facilitation administrative and legal issues (soft infrastructure). Nevertheless, new manufacturing and organisational technologies present long-term challenges to transport and trade between the two continents, while at the same time there is a lack of coordination among different Euro-Asian transport-related initiatives.
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