According to MANA,But given the broad scope of the globe-spanning project, shipowners will need to target and identify key geographical regions where such growth takes place and also the trade flows that are generated, said ICBC senior advisor Yaseen Anwar at the Singapore Shipping Forum organised by BNP Paribas and Moore Stephens LLP during Singapore Maritime Week.
An example is countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations undergoing urbanisation, which present an opportunity for intra-Asia trade for smaller vessels.
Another example is Chinese state-owned investment company CITIC Group Corporation’s plans to invest in 300 projects extending from Singapore to Turkmenistan.
The projects include railways, highways, oil and gas pipelines, power grids and other infrastructure links spanning central, west and south Asia to Greece and Russia, which will upgrade China’s connections to Europe and Africa and vice versa, and will require building materials to be shipped to those places.
Mr Anwar said that with the shipping industry facing overcapacity issues, shipowners should not only look at trading opportunities in existing maritime routes, but also consider potential new links created by the One Belt One Road initiative.
Vital land routes could also generate shipping opportunities for areas such as Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Piraeus in Greece, Gwadar in Pakistan, and Lithuania, among others.
One Belt, One Road's Silk Road Economic Belt includes countries along the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
“From Gwadar, the Middle East and Africa become more cost effective for transhipment to western China and central Asian republics,” he said.
The port at Gwadar is one of the points along the One Belt, One Road initiative where the land and maritime routes intersect. China helped to build and complete its first phase of development in 2006 as one of the projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The corridor is a range of projects being undertaken worth around $46bn to enhance infrastructure in Pakistan and increase economic links with China.
Lithuania has been one of the Baltic region's largest recipients of outbound direct investment in recent years due to its container port. It provides a key maritime and distribution link to the western markets within the European Union and Scandinavia, as well as to the eastern markets of Russia and the former Soviet Union.
State-owned China Cosco Shipping this month clinched its purchase of a majority ownership stake in Greece’s largest port, Piraeus. Piraeus has been identified as a key gateway to European markets under China’s One Belt, One Road plan.
The Port of Rotterdam in October last year signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bank of China for a strategic long-term business alliance to jointly explore business opportunities in Chinese president Xi Jinping’s ambitious One Belt, One Road project. Rotterdam is one of the key points along the One Belt, One Road project's Silk Road Economic Belt land component.
Another possible opportunity for shipowners is to identify One Belt, One Road-supported projects that could generate trade flows from the import and export of certain materials needed for the schemes.
“For example several mega-coal fired power plants costing more than $3bn in Pakistan would result in increased coal imports from South Africa and Indonesia,” said Mr Anwar, who is also a former State Bank of Pakistan governor.
"This highlights new and incremental opportunities for ships."
He also noted that the slump in prices of commodities such as crude oil, steel and concrete is a major boon to the One Belt One Road initiative as “this will further lower costs, accelerate implementation and in turn stimulate much needed growth and other shipping opportunities”.