Great Stone begins to settle in
Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park lays foundation stone for commercial logistics sector
Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park lays foundation stone for commercial logistics sector.
Infrastructure necessary for future enterprises to inhabit the park has been constructed close to the national airport: roads and streets, energy lines, water and sewage pipes, and communication lines. Now, construction of industrial facilities is to begin on the huge site.
The ceremony was both solemn and thrilling, with symbolic significance. Under the command of the Director of China Merchants Group, Mr. Hu Zheng, (its representative in Central Asia and the Baltic States) two excavators got their ‘teeth’ into the ground, scooping to the accompaniment of a deafening cannonade of hundreds of exploding crackers, as is traditional. The event began precisely at 10.18am: a time with symbolic importance.
The Head of the Industrial Park’s Administration, Andrei Gal, describes China Merchants Group as the world’s largest logistics company. Mr. Hu Zheng underlines, “At present, our park is the largest among all foreign parks constructed by the Chinese Government, and is the largest being built by the China Merchants Group abroad.”
He adds that the project envisages the connection of four types of transport (aviation, railway, automobile and water) and will play a key role in the recreated Silk Road, opening the gates from Central Asian countries to Europe.
The Great Stone Park will be connected to Klaipeda Port via a free economic zone in Lithuanian Kaunas, and boasts investments of around $500m. At present, the first stage of the project is being implemented, costing $150m, and envisages the construction of a logistics warehouse, a business centre and a warehouse for ready-made goods.
Mr. Zheng promises a completion date of less than a year, with infrastructure covering 100,000sq.m.
The Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, Nikolai Snopkov, has called the new park unprecedented, being more than a place where goods may arrive for onward dispatch. It will be a venue for industrial, financial, trade and commodity co-operation.
Mr. Snopkov underlines that the China Merchants Group’s serious concept aims for a ‘two-two-three-four’ formula: two countries, Belarus and Lithuania; two integrations (the Eurasian economic space and the EU); three routes (overland, sea and air); and the union of four elements in the single centre of Minsk.
This is the first stage towards the formation of the Eurasian continent as a single trade venue, without borders or barriers.
By Victor Ponomarev