Inside Story - Will the new 'Silk Road' be a success?

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Inside Story - Will the new 'Silk Road' be a success?






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On Wednesday, a freight train arrived in Britain after an 18 day, 12,000 kilometre journey from China's Zhejiang province.

Its backers hope it will be the first of many, heralding a modern-day revival of the fabled Silk Road trade route linking Europe and Asia.

The "East Wind" train line carried products worth nearly five million dollars on its maiden journey to Europe, including clothes, suitcases, purses and wallets - all loaded onto 34 wagons.

On the return journey it will haul British machinery, Spanish hams and cheeses, and German beer.

The term 'silk road' evokes ancient images - of merchants travelling in dusty caravans on journeys taking months.

The modern rail version offers companies the chance to move goods between the continents for about half the cost of air transportation, and in two weeks less travel time than that offered by the quickest sea route.

But there are logistical complications.

The containers have to be unloaded and placed on different wagons at various points along the trip, because of different track gauges in some of the countries the train crosses.

So, how effective will this new route be for trade?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan

Guests:

Steve Tsang - Director of the China Institute at London's School of Oriental and African Studies.

Pauline Loong - Managing Director of Asia-Analytica.

Charles Parton - Former Councillor with the European Union's China Delegation.

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