Geographies of Maritime Transport
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Geographies of Maritime Transport

Edited by Gordon Wilmsmeier and Jason Monios

This multidisciplinary book delivers a unique collection of well-considered, empirically rich and critical contributions on maritime transport geographies. It covers a wide range of markets and territories as well as institutional, environmental and future issues.
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Chapter 8: Belts and Roads: The geopolitics and transport geography of the China–European seaborne trade

Claes G. Alvstam

Abstract

This chapter describes the changing geography of transport between East Asia and Europe, with a special focus on China in light of the recent “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI). Furthermore, it assesses how geopolitical considerations also play an increasing role in the design of the new transport infrastructure within the Eurasian continent and its potential effect on the maritime transport lanes between Asia and Europe. This is done through a study of factors behind the transport flows, including the development of two-way seaborne trade between Europe and East Asia, the integration of global and regional value chains, and investment in new land- and sea-based infrastructure, as well as time, cost and capacity factors that reshape transport geography. The BRI provides different geopolitical options to secure China’s growing ambitions in world politics and commerce, and to balance the sensitive relations with competing power centres in the region.

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