More than 400 Volvo machines work on development of China's New Silk Road

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Spanning three continents, the Belt and Road Initiative or New Silk Road is a monumental infrastructure project that aims to update old trading routes between China and Europe. Set to promote regional integration and economic co-operation across countries in Asia, Africa and Europe, the $90 billion project began in 2013 and involves connections by road, rail and sea, running from China in the east to London, UK in the west.

In the past 5 years, Chinese contractors, most of them as Volvo key accounts, have purchased more than 400 units including excavators, wheel loaders and pavers. More than 60 Volvo machines are spread out along the construction site on the Kazakh steppe, which stretches between Usharal and Taldykorgan.

Construction in Kazakhstan is a key part of the initiative, where a rail hub called the Khorgos Gateway is being built in the middle of the desert. The new trade routes are expected to be a game changer for global logistic flows. In Khorgos Gateway, for example, the total number of handled containers per year is set to surpass 500,000 by next year. In addition, a large workforce is required to work along the more than 700 kilometer stretch of road in the nearby town of Usharal. As a result more than 1,500 local Kazakhs are working alongside 500 or so Chinese employees in the construction of the trade route.

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