Chinese through-train to Europe spells the end of Singapore… or does it?

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

Well you would think so if you read some of the local reaction to the news that a train from China has arrived in Britain bringing sort of fruition to the One Road One Belt idea. TISG headline “Port of Singapore risked being disintermediated blah blah blah….”

Okay let us assume that One Road One Belt is free from political risk – uh what’s that, you asked?

Well if you haven’t noticed, it went through a lot of countries which not only have a difficult relationship with rule of law and political stability but are also Muslim, something China itself has a difficult relationship with.

Then let us assume that the Port of Singapore thrives ONLY on China bound and China originated shipping and let us assume that Korea, Taiwan, Japan bound and originated shipping does not matter and that these countries are happy for China to control their trade via One Road One Belt.

While we are at it, why not assume transshipment within the region in which Singapore is strategically located counts for nought. Then altogether let us assume the maritime, shipping and port services crashed to nothing because we are totally, completely, irreversibly disintermediated by One Road One Belt, how much will the Singapore economy contract?

7% in a single year and that’s assuming the crash to nothing happens all in that year, an extremely far fetched assumption as if all those assumptions behind the crash to nothing are not by themselves far fetched enough.

So please relax, this train arriving in Britain from China does not in any way signify that Singapore will go back to being a fishing village.



Chris Kuan is an astute commentator of Singapore and international affairs.

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