Browse our analysis section for news and articles on topics such as China's Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), the world's evolving digital infrastructure competition, and the stakes for U.S. policy.
Covid-19 has boosted Asia-Europe rail freight traffic during 2020, as Chinese exports have soared amid the global economic slowdown. However, it remains to be seen if the surge in traffic and rise of emerging routes will endure after the pandemic recedes.
Thailand and China have signed a $1.6B deal to construct a segment of a high-speed rail, a component of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), meant to connect Bangkok with northeastern Thailand.
China is reluctant to finance the Main Line 1 railway, the largest Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project in Pakistan, at the 1 percent interest rate requested by Islamabad, which will likely delay the project's anticipated January 2021 start date, Nikkei reports.
India is considering partial privatization of it's aging, 68,000-km national railway system through public-private partnerships (PPPs) that would draw an estimated $4B in total investment, Nikkei reports.
Pakistan's top economic body on Wednesday authorized a $6.8 billion railway upgrade, its costliest project to date as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Nikkei reports.
Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to commence construction of a light-rail connection in early 2021, reviving a project that was delayed by Mahathir Mohamad's former government over cost concerns, Nikkei reports.
Supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic have increased traffic along China-Europe rail lines, which Beijing has promoted heavily under its Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
China's Belt and Road infrastructure projects in Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia have come to a standstill as countries prioritize fighting COVID-19, Nikkei reports.
Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to postpone the finalization of a long-negotiated rail agreement that has experienced delays since the inauguration of Malaysia's new government in 2018, Nikkei reports.
Djibouti has become a linchpin in China's Belt and Road Initiative, but the U.S. is concerned that the financial toll of Covid-19 may increase Djibouti's risk of falling into a "debt trap" created by high-levels of Chinese lending, Nikkei reports.
China is turning to infrastructure projects to boost its economy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, including the construction a 400 km maglev railway between Shanghai and Ningbo, Nikkei reports.
Bangkok's railway is set to double to approximately 300 km in 2023, Thailand hopes that this development will ease traffic and help achieve sustainable, high-quality economic growth, Nikkei reports.
China's Belt and Road investments are facing public criticism in Laos as Chinese-built hydropower plants disrupt the local fishing industry. Some Chinese agricultural businesses have also been accused of poor labor and environmental standards while the IMF and other organizations have flagged the risk of debt distress in the country, Nikkei reports.
The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), stretching from the eastern coast of India to Europe via Iran, Russia, and the Caspian region, has been plagued by financial and political difficulties but its economic impact could be transformative if ever fully realized.
A flurry of recent diplomatic activity highlights the multilateral and multi-stakeholder footing of Eurasia's North-South trade and transport initiatives. While significant economic and political challenges remain, they retain the potential to transform Eurasia's economic landscape.
French train maker Alstom is set to take over a railway unit of Canada's Bombardier in an $8.2 billion deal aimed at giving it the scale to better compete with China's CRRC, which continues to advance in Africa and Asia through the BRI, Nikkei reports.
The shutdown of Wuhan, a strategic transport hub, in response to the coronavirus outbreak could negatively impact China's Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
The provincial government of Sindh, Pakistan is looking to Japan for funding for the Karachi Circular Railway, previously funded through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Nikkei reports.
When Xi Jinping's visits Nepal this weekend, a proposed 72-km railway between Kyirong in Tibet and Kathmandu is likely to dominate the agenda, Nikkei reports.
The timetable for an $83 billion project to build an ultrafast magnetic-levitation rail line between Tokyo and Nagoya has been delayed due to environmental concerns, Nikkei reports.
Amidst discussions over the liabilities and feasibility of a $9.9 billion price tag, the Thai government has delayed a high-profile Chinese Belt and Road high speed railway project.
Malaysia has relaunched the East Coast Rail Link after re-negotiations with China led to The Export Import Bank of China backing 85% of the cost. The project price is now $11 billion, a third of the original expected amount, reports Nikkei.
A company in Thailand has formed a consortium with China Railway Construction to build a $7.3 billion high-speed railway, Nikkei reports.
The freight unit of Germany's state-owned railroad group Deutsche Bahn plans a major increase in capacity for China-bound shipments, counting on continued support for overland transport under China's Belt and Road connectivity project, reports Nikkei Asian Review.
Japan's MUFG Bank will set up a $924.4 million fund - the largest-ever such fund by a Japanese bank - to invest in infrastructure projects overseas by the end of 2019. The fund will target renewable energy and transportation projects, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Transportation ministers from Malaysia and Singapore have signed a supplementary agreement deferring the four-kilometers, cross-border Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) until September. The $1 billion rail link was originally aimed at reducing congestion at the countries' border, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
After a 45-year hiatus, Thailand and Cambodia reopened their cross-border railway service on Monday. With the rail service connecting the border town of Aranyaprathet in Thailand with Poipet in Cambodia, train passengers can now travel between the capitals of Bangkok and Phnom Penh, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
China Communications Construction Co. executives on Wednesday reiterated the infrastructure company has not given up on the multibillion-dollar East Coast Rail Link in Malaysia, on which development work has been suspended for months amid doubts over the project's financial viability, reports Nikkei.
Southeast Asian nations are investing in their urban rail infrastructure to ease road congestion impeding their further economic growth. In Hanoi, road congestion costs Vietnam as much as $1.2 billion in 2018, reports Nikkei.
The Philippines held a groundbreaking ceremony for the country's first subway line under President Rodrigo Duterte's infrastructure push. The Japanese government is giving full backing to the project. The design and construction work will be implemented by a four-member consortium of Japanese contractors, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Nepal will use Chinese gauge for a planned nationwide rail network in a move that is expected to intertwine the Himalayan country more deeply with China both economically and strategically. India has opposed the use of China's standard gauge as it tries to build its own influence in Nepal, Nikkei reports.
Malaysia will cancel its $20B East Coast Rail Link project with contractor China Communications Construction Co Ltd due to the high cost, but stated that they will continue to welcome investment from China on a case by case basis.
Chinese investment in railways is expected to rise by about 6 percent year-over-year to $125 billion in 2019, part of a stimulus plan to shore up China’s lagging economy. China Railway, which manages the country’s rail-sector, expects to build 6,800km in new rail tracks this year, a 45 percent increase in construction over 2018.
Vietnam's government has re-introduced a previously rejected plan for a high-speed railway that would connect the country's north and south. Under the current proposal, the government would cover 80% of the project's cost, fueling concern that funding the railway would be irresponsible.
Should inter-Korean cooperation result in the re-joining of North and South Korea's railways, it could connect the peninsula through China and Russia to a rail network that spans Eurasia. However, such connections will require a long and costly modernization process to fully integrate the systems in a commercially viable way, complicating the future of these potentially transformative links.
China's state planner has approved inter-city railway projects in the eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Anhui, with a combined total investment value of $33.82 billion and a total length of 1,063 km.
North and South Korea are pushing railway cooperation as an engine for advancing inter-Korean relations. Railway connections could integrate the peninsula into a network that spans the continent, marking a significant diplomatic and geopolitical accomplishment. However, significant obstacles still remain.
Thailand will spend more than $25 billion to build a high-speed rail network in a bid to transform the country into a regional rail hub. The Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok, when completed in 2020, is expected be Southeast Asia's biggest station with a capacity of serving 400,000 passengers daily.
South and North Korea will launch a field study on Friday to relink railways cut since the 1950-53 Korean conflict, after the U.N. Security Council granted sanctions exemptions last week, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
South Korea has received sanctions exemption from the United Nations Security Council for a joint survey of inter-Korean railways, the first step towards reconnecting rail and road links of the two Koreas since the 1950-53 Korean War.
China envisions a vast global network of trade, investment, and infrastructure that will bring the world closer to Beijing. To better understand how China's vision is playing out on the ground, The New York Times examined nearly 600 Chinese-financed projects and the driving forces behind them, citing data from the Reconnecting Asia Project.
China agreed to fund the $365 million Kaliwa dam and take part in the $3.3 billion southern Luzon railway project in the Philippines. A memorandum of understanding on oil and gas exploration was also signed between the two countries.
China Railway Construction will join a consortium led by Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) to bid for the construction of Thailand's $7 billion high-speed railway project that will link three major airports.
Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group signed an agreement with China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) to jointly develop "supersonic" trains in the country with a maximum speed of 620 mph.
Japan will send experts from Kyushu Railway Co. and Japan Freight Railway Co. to Malaysia later in the month to study ways to improve the country's railway transportation system.
The Thai government has approved four infrastructure megaprojects, worth a combined $14 billion, in an effort to rev up new investment in the country's Eastern Economic Corridor.
Malaysia has allowed Gamuda and MMC Corp. to resume underground works of the Mass Rail Transit 2 project after their joint venture agreed to a deeper cost cut, underscoring the government's resolve to push ahead with initiatives which only make economic sense.
On September 18, 2018, the Reconnecting Asia Project and the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) hosted “Looking North: Korea in a Reconnecting Asia,” a half-day conference that explored Korea’s ambitious plans for connectivity.
A recently opened express railway between Hong Kong and mainland China has drastically cut travel times, but has experienced less demand in commuters and tourists as initially anticipated, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.