Laleh Khalili (Sinews of War and Trade) explains how maritime transportation is central to the fabric of global capitalism and how ports create racialised hierarchies of labour, engineer the lived environment, aid the accumulation of capital regionally and globally, and carry forward colonial regimes of profit, law and administration. China is the factory of the world, and a parade of ships arrive and leave in all directions to fuel its manufacturing trade. The oil needed by China primarily comes from the Arabian Peninsula, and much of the material it requires is transported through the ports of Arabian Peninsula. China's ‘maritime silk road’ flanks the Peninsula on all sides. Khalili is a professor of international politics at Queen Mary University of London. In conversation with writer and broadcaster, Horatio Clare.