International contractors including breakbulk handlers working for Chinese engineering companies on Belt and Road-related projects worldwide are increasingly adapting to meet Chinese-designed construction standards.
The use of Chinese – not western – standards for suppliers and builders of residential buildings, bridges and even railways is becoming more common around the world as Chinese EPCs expand overseas through the Belt and Road initiative, now in its fourth year.
Projects are being executed according to Chinese standards in step with a Chinese government push to shift the nation’s businesses from a “made in China” to a “created in China” business focus, according to a recent report on a Ministry of Transport website.
One of the Belt and Road campaign’s strategies revolves around the use of Chinese standards for transportation, for example, to spur China’s role in design and consulting services tied to industrial development projects. The goal is to “enhance national competitiveness,” the report said.
“When a standard is internationally recognized and accepted, China’s position and ability to compete in the international marketplace will be further enhanced,” it said.
The use of Chinese standards for overseas projects tied to Chinese EPCs dates to 2009, when the Ministry of Transport completed its first manual for international highway and water transportation-related construction projects.
In recent years, Chinese standards have been at the heart of projects such as the construction of a 1,600-meter, cable-stayed bridge in the Equatorial Guinea city of Bata and the ongoing building of a railroad in Kenya between the sea port of Mombasa and the capital city Nairobi.
Engineering projects employing Chinese standards do not need require western-specific testing or employee training, the report said, and thus can be accomplished more efficiently with a wider variety of building materials.
Photo: Chinese-made bridge in Equatorial Guinea