Stories from the New Silk Road: Norway

Stories from the New Silk Road: Norway

The BBC World Service series, ‘Stories from the New Silk Road’, has been a longstanding feature since 2019. Based around the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, we have been documenting how the Chinese scheme has been changing our world in so many ways; From Kenya to Jamaica, from new ports to railways and from roads to fishing, linking the Chinese logistics network bringing raw materials into China and Chinese exports around the world.

In Norway, the Polar Silk Road means a new access route to Europe and the East Coast of the US. Going across the Arctic could cut the journey time to China by half. Plus this would mean less cargo going through the hot spot and expensive Suez Canal. The melting of the sea ice means that the North East Passage could be navigable all year round.

Going to the Arctic circle sounds very adventurous, but in fact it’s a simple flight from Oslo to Kirkenes, which is inside the Arctic circle and around 15km away from the Russian border. BBC Correspondent Anna Holligan presents this edition from Norway. Anna asks the questions to the contributors, finding out more about Chinese presence in the area. Anna gives us an insight the High North whilst production is down to C60, setting up interviews and recording.

Kirkenes in the summer means that we experience the midnight sun; the sun doesn’t go down at all and it’s daylight all day. Tricky to sleep, so eye-masks are essential! In Kirkenes, we meet the former mayor, local newspaper journalists and the Port Director. But it was Hans Hatle from Barents Safari who really captured our imaginations. Hans has so much experience from his time in the army to the tourism industry and his knowledge about the Polar Silk Road is vast. So we start the documentary with King Crab fishing and Hans’ insight into what the Polar Silk Road may mean for this town at the top of the world.

Take a listen to the documentary here!