Monday, December 14, 2015

The Iron Horse to Europe

China is modifying its means of getting goods to market, especially Europe. It has a history which is much longer than many recognize of reaching out. Admiral Zheng He for example is legendary for having led an expedition of 28, 000 people by ship to explore as far away as Africa and the Red Sea. That was in the 15th century. His armada was essentially one to develop trade and forge political ties. A Yale professor believes China may have reached Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and CBC The National featured his findings a few years ago. My comment that this contact was surprising being on the Atlantic coast not the Pacific was featured on the nightly news viewer feedback segment "Your Turn." Of course China was the source of the Silk Road. But now in 2015 an article in China Daily (Dec 11th) states that the central city of Zhengzhou, Henan, has been linked by rail to Hamburg. Over 150 trains a year are using this route, one of over 10,000 kms. 20 official routes now exist in China for a total of over a thousand trains a year to Europe! Talk about a land bridge. Rail is quicker and in many instances cheaper than shipping by sea. Air has over capacity. So the Iron Horse refuses to become an anachronism.