Speaking at Nor-Shipping on Wednesday Hashim cited a Fitch Ratings report that as on 17 May this $900bn worth of projects had either been committed to, started or completed under OBOR.
“So you can see OBOR is taking shape, and taking shape quite quickly,” he said.
Projects include freight trains linking 15 European cities and China, and 10 ports along OBOR. For China it provide a market for its idle steel and cement capacity, labour intensive industries, and shifts production into lower cost and poorer locations in land.
Looking specifically at shipping Hashim said the impact as a whole was positive. “In terms of dry bulk this will increase the demand for dry bulk capacity. In terms of tankers, once the oil pipeline are there, there will be w big slowdown for crude tankers. In terms of container shipping having these land trade routes will compete more against air traffic than by sea traffic.
“At the end of day OBOR with all its mega-projects will create more jobs, more economic growth, more economic prosperity, and more consumer buying power and that will increase the shipping trade lanes in far greater way than anything else.”
Hashim sees a huge geo-political significance for China in OBOR. “Geopolitics has greater role in OBOR than most people really imagine,” he stated. It builds a buffer against American influence in the Pacific Rim and gains diplomatic capital for China in 65 countries, three continents and 4bn people.
Concluding Hashim said it offer the 21st century choice of China and OBOR or “America with its model where you try and bomb the country into democracy”.