As China is busy seeking converts for its Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road program to build a network of linked infrastructure across Asia and Europe, equipment majors Caterpillar Inc. and Terex Corp. say they are enthusiastic about the One Belt, One Road program, as China calls it.
"Caterpillar is confident the One Belt, One Road initiative will strengthen connectivity in the region and globally," Qihua Chen, Caterpillar vice president and its China chief, told ENR in an email. "Caterpillar is well- positioned to play a positive role in supporting projects created by the initiative." The firm operates a network of 29 companies and plants in Chinese cities including Tianjin, Suzhou and Wuxi.
At the same time, the company apparently realizes that the task is an uphill one. "By that very nature, it will also be complex and requires close cooperation amongst different governments," said Chen.
Caterpillar is also pinning hopes on a new financing vehicle, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which is taking shape with 57 countries joining in as partners. "There are huge demands in Asia, particularly in emerging economies like China and India, to develop and upgrade infrastructure. We hope that AIIB will be playing an active role in funding key infrastructure projects in Asia," Cat's China chief added.
While supportive of the plan, Ken Lousberg, Terex Corp.'s chief in China, told ENR he was cautious about the value of AIIB for manufacturers based elsewhere.
"As the AIIB is still developing its detailed governance and operating guidelines, it remains to be seen how a U.S.-based company with operations in China can benefit from AIIB under its rules," Lousberg said, adding that the AIIB does raise hopes of higher sales because it can meet financing needs of project owners. "Although we have not seen specific project opportunities yet, I expect to see some soon," he added.