Russia's New Trade Route Extends from the Atlantic to Bab Al-Mandab (Video)

Sheba Intelligence | 2023-09-24 06:53 PM UTC


   Russian media revealed President Vladimir Putin's intention to launch a new maritime route for international trade extending from the shores of the Atlantic off the coast of Equatorial Guinea all the way to Bab al-Mandab and the Gulf of Aden.


The news about this new route raised many questions, given that it came after two important events. The first was the killing of Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose organization had the upper hand in Africa, and the second was the announcement of the reopening of the Indian Spice Route during recent G20 summit held in India. The reopening of the Spice Route aims at competing with the Silk Road adopted by China, and this move was interpreted as an action to gradually strangle China and compete China in international trade.


The Russian media indicated that at the beginning of this September, 14 African military attachés arrived in Minsk to meet with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Before that, the Belarusian President met with the leader of Equatorial Guinea, the country located on the coast of Guinea with access to the Atlantic Ocean, and Gabon, the country that witnessed an anti-French coup on August 30th.


According to the map, the new route will extend from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Gulf of Aden, and it will pass by Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.


In recent years, Washington's alliances in the region have focused on confronting the Chinese project, such as those in East Asia or the Pacific region, as the United States of America worked to place many obstacles regarding the Maritime Silk Road project.


China tried to overcome the dilemma imposed on it in the Pacific region by exploiting the ancient land Silk Road. However, the land Silk Road also became booby-trapped after the outbreak of the Ukrainian war, and it faces great difficulties in Central Asia, which is undergoing major political transformations, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan.


At the Russian-African summit held in late July 2023, the Russian President proposed opening a Russian transport and logistics center in one of the ports on the East African coast linking the (North-South) route, which is the international transport line between North and South, which Russia is developing.


The route will enable Russian goods to reach the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. It holds prospects for the Kremlin because Africa constitutes a trade route of strategic importance linking Europe and Asia, including the Bab al-Mandab Strait (the second most navigable area), the Cape of Good Hope (which is vital to Oil exporters and importers), and many islands and archipelagos, as well as the Suez Canal. Putin stressed that this route could also be used for supplying African goods to the Russian market.


It is also possible to establish land logistics through Iran to other countries in the Middle East, including Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq, besides transporting goods to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The main advantage of this route is that it is independent, faster, less expensive, and safer, and no one can influence it except Russia and Iran.


 Countries search for their influence by possessing trade routes and military bases, which achieve their military, security, and economic interests.


Russia had tested transporting goods from Astrakhan to a port in southern Iran via the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which connects the markets of Russia, Persia, and Asia. The first try of transporting goods began on the same day that the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian visited India. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi had a telephone conversation.


The shipped cargo consists of two armored containers, each 40 feet long and weighing 41 tons. They were loaded in St. Petersburg and then headed to Astrakhan, where they will be reloaded at the port of Solyanka. Then, across the Caspian Sea, it will move to the Iranian port of Anzali, heading to Bandar Abbas in the south and finally to JNPA in India.


Russian media indicated that Moscow would remain in Africa even after the demise of Prigozhin, the founder of Wagner. The Russian media published a picture of Sergei Surovikin, followed by the comment: "Sorovikin in Algeria, our ally," suggesting that Surovikin will lead Wagner, succeeding its leader, Prigozhin, who was killed on August 23 when his private plane crashed in the Tver region, north of the capital.