On the 25th August, the delivery ceremony of Sany’s large Ship-to-Shore Container Crane STS454701 to Latvian customer Baltic Container Terminal Ltd. (BCT) was successfully conducted at the port of Riga. At the invitation of Mr. Gerard Sammut, CEO of the host BCT, Ambassador Liang Jianquan of the China Embassy in Latvia, Economic and Commercial Counselor Shen Xiaokai of the China Embassy in Latvia, Managing Director Deng Haijun of Sany Europe GmbH, Representative of Minister Tālis Linkaits of Ministry of Transport, Chairman of Board Mr. Viesturs Zeps of Freeport of Riga, and CEO Mr. Ansis Zeltiņš of the Freeport of Riga attended the ceremony.
This STS454701 is already the second large ship-to-shore crane that BCT has purchased from Sany since 2014.The successful holding of the ceremony marks that Sany’s products have won again the recognition and praise of overseas customers, and “Made by Sany” adds more brilliance to the “One Belt And One Road” strategy.
The friendship between China and Latvia overcame all difficulties
Terminal logistics is a pillar industry in Latvia, which borders the Baltic Sea. BCT is one of the most important service providers in the industry and plays a vital role in cargo transferring in Riga port. To meet its growing business, BCT ordered this STS454701 from Sany late last year. On 12 May 2020, the equipment arrived in Riga on schedule in the form of a complete machine.
Yet the May was just the time that COVID-19 dashed around the world. Although the goods have arrived, the people’s arrival has been severely affected by the epidemic. The entire European Union has been closed since March, and Latvia, as a member state, has also had over 1,000 confirmed cases.
However, in order to ensure the logistics, BCT sent a call to Sany after the arrival of the goods, which indicated that it is urgent to install the crane immediately, so as to put it into use as soon as possible. The customer’s call is the order, thus Sany quickly organized a team of five senior engineers accordingly, and began to make all kinds of preparations for departure.
The biggest difficulties are visa and entry issues. Under the European Union’s epidemic control policy at the time, the team of engineers could have entered Latvia in no way. But confronting the difficulties, the cooperation between Sany and BCT has grown even closer: Sany actively contacted the Latvian Embassy in China to explain the situation, while BCT tensively communicated with the Latvian ministry of Commerce, Ministry of interior and other national departments to apply for approval. As the urgency and importance of the situation was illustrated clearly, the Latvian government was also impressed by the professionalism of the Chinese company. The Latvian government praised Sany for its great sense of responsibility, especially during the epidemic, for the fact that a group of Chinese people were willing even to risk their own health to benefit a friend country. After coordination, the Latvian Government granted special entry permits and the Embassy granted Schengen visas, making it possible for the engineers to deploy.
Go, even with chartered flight
After the visa, the Sanyers then faced another difficulty: there was no direct flight from China to Latvia, so they had to transfer to Germany first. But because of the epidemic control, the engineers were not allowed to pass through the German customs and hence enter the transit zone. This meant, they could not take any of the Frankfurt-Riga flights. The only solution, then, is that the men to arrive at Frankfurt airport must use a special route for private jets rather than entering the transit zone.
So charter a flight. Although the cost far exceeded, but after being asked, Mr. Deng Haijun immediately approved. “Chartering a flight is expensive,” he said. “But no way it’s as expensive as our promise to the customer.”
By then the itinerary was finally set. Five engineers in full body protective suits, goggles and masks arrived in Frankfurt on May 16 after a long trip. Expecting the rest of the journey to be a releasing one, but they found that only 20 minutes was left before the following private jet took off, due to the delay of the previous one. So engineers staged Fast and Furies in the Europe’s largest airport—five minutes to collect luggage, eight minutes to change terminals and four minutes to go through security-check again. As if in a movie scene, when the five sprinted to the cabin door, they were only seconds away from take-off.
Sweating under Riga’s Sunshine
All the challenges were just at the beginning. After a long sea journey, there is no other way than excess workload to restore, adjust and debug such a nearly one thousand tons of heavy, and dozens of meters high large equipment.
The first is to unload the ship. During this period, the men worked super-long hours a day, fell into bed late at night exhaustedly but got up before dawn, and finally finished unloading the ship four days later. For such a large equipment, it only took 5 men and 4 days to complete the unloading safely, so Sany can be so proud that this is an incredible feat for the whole industry.
And in the subsequent recovery, rectification, and debugging tasks, Sanyers also fully showed the spirit. The engineers worked more than very long hours on most days and voluntarily gave up all weekend breaks. They ate simplest self-made fried rice on the dock every noon, but paid best attention to every minute request from customers — even a button, a label, or even the cleaning of a corner dozens of meters high.
At 8 a.m. on July 12, the equipment finally confronted its biggest exam, namely the 24-hour durability test. After more than ten hours of intense concentration, the five men still needed to be full ready for the night. In the moonlight, however, one could still hear the trolley moving regularly on the track, the spreader lifting rhythmically, and the siren of the gantry moving from time to time. In order to overcome fatigue, the five shifted every two hours and took turns to have a rest. Alleged rest, it was just to lie with clothes on the hard machine room floor, and for closing eyes for a while. At 8 a.m. on July 13, the test was finally over, and the computer printout showed that the test had passed with success. The five men all showed tired smiles.
Sany is the fish, the customer is the water
On the morning of July 20, while the Sanyers and BCT managers were waiting on the dock, the government acceptance officer arrived. He came to make a final check on the equipment. If all factors meet the safety standards required by the Latvian Government, the BCT would be granted a license for the use of the equipment, which is also the final element of the acceptance of the equipment. The Sanyers confidently accompanied the officer up to the main room dozens of meters high, answering his questions from time to time or showing relevant technical data. As the officer walked down from the machine, he smiled and said to the crowd, “It’s a wonderful machine! You’ll get a permit soon.”
On the morning of 21 July, Mr. Gerard Sammut solemnly signed his name on the Acceptance Certificate. This is the best recognition for Sany’s products and praise for Sany’s spirit. For 66 days of hard work, the sea breezes and the sunshine of Riga had long since given the men a thick, solemn tan. But now, for the first time in a long time, there was an easy smile on the dark faces.
“Thank you, Mr. Sammut, and thank all your colleagues,” the Sanyers said from the bottom of their hearts as they took the Acceptance Certificate, “Without your support for everything, we could not been able to deliver it in such a short time. Together we made it!”
And all the relevant colleagues of BCT also expressed their appreciations on the same day. As the terminal manager made his customary tour on the dock, he came up to the Sanyers and looked out at the gigantic top of the new machine. “This new Sany’s is going to be our Ace,” he said with a sigh, “And you, my friends, are our Ace too!”