Shandong: A key BRI player and witness

(| Updated : 2023-10-23

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Containers at a port in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, on Jan 22, 2023. [Photo/VCG]

East China's Shandong province has served as both a key player and a witness of the Belt and Road Initiative, which marks its 10th anniversary this year.

The province has stood as a major hub for China-Europe trains, which has been an important means of deepening economic and trade cooperation among countries involved in the BRI.

In 2016, the three cities of Jinan, Qingdao, and Linyi in Shandong province were included in the China-Europe freight train construction and development plan (2016-20), making Shandong with the largest number of cities included in the plan. By the end of 2022, Shandong had operated 6,517 China-Europe freight trains, with the annual number of services increasing nearly 10 times compared to four years ago.

Shandong is also one of the important pioneers in the country in developing the trans-Caspian international transportation route, a new multimodal transport route that passes through the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea before reaching Western European countries. In December 2022, Shandong launched a new service to transport goods like new energy vehicles and solar components from the China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area, or SCODA, to Slovenia's largest port, Koper.

Beyond railways, Shandong has also actively involved in enhancing regional circular roads in the BRI countries. In 2018, Shandong Highway Construction Group undertook the renovation of Kazakhstan's TKU&UD highway. Upon completion, it will provide an important international channel that connects China with Kazakhstan and Kazakhstan's surrounding countries.

As a key BRI player, Shandong province has deepened its economic cooperation with countries in Central Asia. In 2022, the province's trade with the five Central Asian countries reached 22.46 billion yuan ($3.07 billion), an increase of 15.7 percent year-on-year.