On china’s border with Kazakhstan, a new Silk Road city has sprung up with such speed that Google Earth has scarcely begun to record the high-rises that now float on a winter mist above the steppe. What once would have been flattered to be called a hard-scrabble border town is now home to 200,000 people, giant outdoor video screens extolling the glories of a new Silk Road, and restaurants serving sashimi and European wine. Khorgos has become China’s gateway to Central Asia, and all the way to Europe.
A twin town is going up in Kazakhstan. A duty-free mall already straddles the border for Kazakhstanis to get deals on booze, perfume and cut-price Chinese goods. But the key features, just across the border, are the giant gantry cranes more usually seen in the world’s ports. The Khorgos Gateway is a container terminal, a “dry port” built from scratch in 2014. The transport hub is intended as a critical link in what China’s president, Xi Jinping, has called the “Eurasian land bridge”. Among its investors is China’s cosco, one of the world’s shipping giants. It is run by dp World, Dubai’s port operator. Last year the dry port handled 160,000 teus (a unit equivalent to a 20-foot container). Hicham Belmaachi, its Moroccan manager, expects that to rise to 400,000 in 2025.
Source: Strategic Study India
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