Beijing to Brussels Caravan reopens Silk Road
Brussels, Belgium – Today, the pioneering truck Caravan travelling under the slogan, “From Beijing to Brussels, road transport drives progress”, completed its historic 12â€™000 km journey that started in Beijing on 27 September during the 3rd IRU Euro-Asian Road Transport Conference on â€œRoad Transport bridging Asia and Europeâ€.
IRU President Paul Laeremans said: “IRUâ€™s relentless efforts over the years to bring down barriers to international road transport have now allowed the realisation of this truly historic initiative that has reopened the famous Silk Road! It has proven that freight can be efficiently transported from China to CIS countries and further to the EU within just one-third of the time it would take by sea! This caravan demonstrates that road transport, in an increasingly competitive globalised world economy, is no longer just a means of carriage, but rather an irreplaceable production tool for all companies and economies.”
To commemorate the historic event, the IRU organised a round table conference at Auto World with speakers representing American and European companies. They expressed their full support and continued business interest in the pioneering initiative of the IRU and its Member Associations to provide solutions to manufacturers who are currently faced with huge delays and costs in getting their goods to market due to the saturation of Chinese ports and the consequent huge increase in maritime freight rates.
Dick Van den Broek Humphreij, President of the European Shippers Council, said that the caravan “…will undoubtedly create a new era in trade not only between two continents, not only between the two cities of Beijing and Brussels but, above all, in all the countries with emerging market-friendly economies along the 12â€™000 kilometres of the reopened Silk Road”. He observed however, that “due to the Commissionâ€™s dogmatic transport policy with its incessant repetition of the mantra â€˜long distance transport must be done by rail; road transport is for distributionâ€™, combined with an endless stream of more stringent environmental criteria and ever increasing national restrictions and penalties, the road transport operators of Old Europe, who are obliged not only to fulfil the high quality criteria but also to implement these dogmatic policies, have lost their entrepreneurial spirit!”
Peter-Hans Keilbach Senior Representative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that, â€œtrade between the Asia-Pacific region and Europe exceeds $300 billion per year. American companies invested over $4 billion in China in 2004 and this number grows every year. Total U.S. assets in Europe are worth nearly $3.3 trillion.
Currently, trade between Asia and Europe primarily involves sea transport as well as expensive freight handling ports. Road transport will significantly reduce transit time to less than 3 weeks, reduce costs, and allow for door-to-door delivery!â€