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10 September 2019

China-Europe road route through Russia

First published10/09/2019

Plans are being considered by the Russian Government for the new Meridian Highway project, intended to connect Europe with Western China. The proposed 2,000km route through Russia is being analysed by the Russian Government with a view to an alignment being determined. The project is a key component of China’s Belt and Road strategy, aiming to connect Europe and China by road and helping international trade and transport. The project is envisaged as being carried out under the PPP model, with the route being tolled. The proposed route will connect Russia’s borders with Kazakhstan in the east to Belarus in the west. Cost estimates for the project suggest that the pricetag for its construction could top US$10 billion, although the level of traffic along the tolled route could see it paying for itself in as little as 12 years according to some projections. The project would also be of enormous benefit for some of Russia’s more depressed areas, helping to revitalise economic performance. Given its enormous significance, the project has been prioritised by both the Russian and Chinese premiers, president Putin and Xi respectively.

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