Railroads play a crucial role in the Eurasian ITCs. Because of the speed and reliability of deliveries it provides, railway transportation is starting to compete with shipment by sea (advantage of speed) and air (advantage of cost). The competition with alternative routes has to be taken into account, whereas the strategy should be built around the available advantages of the existing routes and the complementary nature of others.
Geographically and historically, transport and trade have united Eurasia as much as geopolitical conflicts and imperial rivalries have kept it fragmented. Since the 2000s and even more so with the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasian integration (EAEU) in progress, opportunities for a major diversification and modernization of the economies of continental Eurasia via transport and trade integration, at both a regional and global level, have risen dramatically and have in fact never been greater.