Construction Equipment Global
Volvo excavator at construction site

Constructing the New Silk Road

What the Belt and Road Initiative means to the construction business

Constructing the New Silk Road

The Belt and Road Initiative is re shaping the world. Goods and people already travel along the new routes created within the initiative. What does this giant construction project mean to Volvo?

The Kazakh steppe is known to be vast. The people living there used to be nomads who depended on their horses for transportation. Today, a neglected road, a patchwork of asphalt and potholes, serve as the main transportation route. This is one of the places where people’s lives will change as the road is re-constructed within The Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the New Silk Road. More than 60 Volvo machines are spread out along the construction site on the steppe, which stretches between Usharal and Taldykorgan.

This is just one project where Volvo machines are present in The Belt and Road Initiative. All in all, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is involved in 24 projects within the initiative, and more than 400 machines are currently working on the New Silk Road.

What does the giant construction initiative mean to Volvo CE and what will be the next step?

We spoke to Jawin Huang, acting president of Volvo CE Sales Region China.

What does The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project mean to Volvo CE China?
Since China launched the BRI initiative in 2013, it has facilitated many countries’ infrastructure development alongside BRI. More and more Chinese contractors are approaching to overseas construction projects which bring many business opportunities for Volvo CE China and other sales regions as well.

Have the many projects within BRI led to a larger market share?

Yes. BRI projects are one of the most important drivers for our sales in Region China. 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. Volvo, as a leading player in this area, definitely gains market share and customer share with premium product offerings/solutions.

Volvo excavator at construction site
The Belt and Road Initiative has created opportunities for new collaborations within the construction business. It has also opened up for new, electrified and connected machinery to be used in the future.

Has BRI led to any new collaborations?
It does bring many new multi-parties collaborations. Here is one example of new collaboration: during 10th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (IIICF), the Parallel Forum "Enhancing Collaboration Along Industrial Chains to Serve Quality Infrastructure Development" has been hosted by Volvo CE to collaborate with upstream and downstream industries that probed into the depth and breadth of the topic of industrial collaboration in infrastructure construction. As the result, Volvo CE, jointly with 8 industrial peers, announced a proposal initiative for quality infrastructure and collaborations. This will be a new platform for cross-industrial parties to exchange and collaborate in future.

Will BRI open up opportunities for Volvo’s future machines, like the electric range?
Yes, absolutely. Smart construction is coming now. To meet new technology trends as electromobility, automation and connectivity, we have already launched compact electric wheel loaders and compact excavators together with co-pilot solutions, etc., which will bring us much more opportunities in some areas in B&R projects which is total new for us. It is very interesting and exciting. 

Jawin Huang, acting president of Volvo CE Sales Region China

Jawin Huang, acting president of Volvo CE Sales Region China

The Belt and Road Initiative has led to many new business opportunities for Volvo CE. Right now, Volvo machines are present in 24 different projects within the initiative. Jawin Huang says that the BRI projects are one of the most important drivers for sales in the Chinese region.

Constructing the New Silk Road

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