In 2013, the Chinese government initiated the concept of the “Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road” (hereinafter referred to as the One Belt and One Road: OBOR).
China’s growing engagement is well reflected in several regional economic blocs such as ASEAN, ASEAN+3, RCEP, IBSA, BRICS, along with policies aimed at trade liberalization and increasing maritime connectivity. China-Africa-South America (CASA) trading routes have been rapidly promoted, with the development of container ports in the sub-Saharan region and South America, i.e. South-South trades. In addition, the OBOR concept covers the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor and the China-Myanmar-Thailand Corridor, by which China plans not only to connect inland cities to the Indian Ocean by rail connections to seaports on the east coast, but also to transport oil from Iran and Iraq directly by train to China, rather than by sea.
It would impact on container and liquid cargo movements in the Middle East and Europe, as well as on Shanghai’s transshipment trade through the Malacca Strait. Moreover, the OBOR addresses the Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperation, the China, Mongolia and Russia Economic Corridor, the Heilongjiang Silk Road Belt, the Zhejiang Marine Economy Development Demonstration Zone, the Fujian Marine Economic Pilot Zone, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Big Bay Area and the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone.
Considering the above corridors and zones are significantly interrelated with the global supply chain and international logistics, there is a need to investigate the impact that the OBOR will have on them. Logistics providers and policy makers of ASEAN countries and stakeholders of regional economic blocs such as AANZFTA, RCEP, TPP, and APEC are expected to be influenced by the OBOR concept, because they play a key role in maritime networks and the global supply chain system. In particular, South Africa is seen as a hub for traffic emanating from, and destined for, Europe, Asia, South America and the east and west coasts of Africa. Having said that, the OBOR is expected to exert multi-dimensional impacts on the global supply chain and maritime connectivity. The conference deals with this main theme, with experts, scholars and policy makers across the world.