KOSTOLAC-B Power Station Project Team in Serbia—Entering European Market and Upholding Silk Road Spirit

Release time:2019-01-31 Article source:亚太聚焦 Reading times: A+AA-
The report of the 19th CPC National Congress proposed that we should make new ground in pursuing opening-up on all fronts, advance the Belt and Road Initiative (the B&R Initiative) as a priority, and open China further through links running eastward and westward, across the land and over sea. The KOSTOLAC-B power station project undertaken by CMEC is China’s first EPC power project in Serbia. The project is divided into two phases. The first phase was successfully completed in 2016 and the second phase is currently being implemented. The project team of the 3rd Regional Department of the Third Division will live up to expectations and add a new version of CMEC’s overseas strategic arrangements by seizing the opportunity of the B&R Initiative.
Serbia, one country of Eastern Europe, is located at the end of the great strategic blueprint of the B&R Initiative. The implementation of KOSTOLAC-B power station project means that Chinese enterprises have officially entered the traditional European market, which is of great strategic significance in breaking Western barriers and promoting Chinese technologies and standards. Also, the adoption of a large number of Chinese equipment not only conforms to China’s export policy but also greatly boosts the upgrading of the domestic design industry and mechanical and electrical equipment manufacturing industry. This project, the largest one in Serbia in 30 years, shoulders the great mission of revitalizing Serbia. Its smooth implementation will greatly alleviate the power shortage in Serbia, stimulate economic growth, and lay a solid foundation for the country’s entry into the EU. As the “Belt and Road” Initiative emphasizes win-win results, China and Serbia have historical origins. The KOSTOLAC-B power station project represents a bridge to build political and economic relations and traditional friendship between the two peoples. Such great significance has filled the hearts of everyone in the project department with a strong sense of mission and honor, injecting endless power and passion into everyone’s work.

  “British and German companies fail to complete it as scheduled. You make it!”
The time limit for a project in Serbia is tight, the project has high requirements ranging from design to construction, and working habits are quite different from those of CMEC’s projects in China, as well as Asia, Africa, and Latin America in the past. During the first-phase construction, it is difficult to lift cathode and anode plates of the electrostatic precipitator due to frequent strong wind in autumn. But the time limit for a project is imminent, everyone often brainstorms together, various methods are pooled together, and “fancy” hoisting becomes a joke at the site.

Worse still, the project team also encountered twice in succession the once-in-a-century floods in Serbia during the first-phase project. The pile driver was flooded by rain overnight, the edge of the deep foundation pit collapsed, water accumulated in the pit, and strong winds continued. The crane could not be started for several months. At the end of the year, the country must generate electricity to supply heat before the severe winter comes, otherwise consequences would be unimaginable. Faced with these difficulties, the project team made concerted efforts and, under the leadership of the then Project Manager Zhang Zili, conducted an investigation on the site to study various construction schemes. The seemingly chaotic work was smoothed down bit by bit, and everyone completed the project within the stipulated time. At the celebration dinner, Serbian owners felt that in Serbia, many companies from Britain and Germany had undertaken projects. But none of them can implement them without delay. You make it!

  “When you come, you solve it.”
In the design stage of the second phase project, due to high standards required by the Serbian side and the design concept far different from that of China’s design institute, each colleague involved in the approval of design has formed a “unified alliance” to work closely and share their external experience. They have summed up a number of time-tested ways to “respond to the Serbian” and spontaneously established a range of rapid and effective internal response mechanisms to coordinate all parties involved. The project team faced many “difficulties” from the Serbian side, minimizing obstacles to the design and approval and ensuring the smooth implementation of the project.
As the home front of this great “battle,” the domestic project department has played a backing role. Whether it is to coordinate domestic design institutes, equipment manufacturers and construction units, or project members engaged in commercial and financial work, they are all conscientious and dedicated. Especially during the negotiation of several supplementary agreements for the second phase project, the domestic side could solve problems from the site, as if the six-hour time difference had never existed.

  “Bachelors” with cares
It is even more difficult for permanent overseas members. Because they are stationed overseas all the year round, their time with their families can be counted on their fingers. Project Manager Wang Pengfei and Chief Engineer Zhang Zili stayed at the front line almost from the first day of the project. Hu Zhijie, a civil engineering engineer, has been working on the site since the earliest stage of the project. For five years, the birth of his daughter and son was missed. Dong Yunning, who is in charge of the integrated on-site business, went to the site to stay on the third day after receiving marriage certificates with his wife. This is a group of “bachelors” who have cared about their families but still held to their positions in foreign countries. They have no distractions, ensuring the steady progress of the project.

  Selfless dedication is a “trivial matter.”
Working conditions on construction sites are difficult, especially on overseas project sites.

Tian Feng, who is in charge of the maintenance work, wears a gas mask every day to ensure the quality of anti-corrosion construction inside the desulfurization absorption tower and works in the tower for a whole day. The temperature in the tower is not only extremely high but also filled with harmful gases left over from anti-corrosion materials. However, he has never complained that when working in the tower, he is even longer than any anti-corrosion construction worker. Yu Zhihua, who is responsible for the construction of the electrostatic precipitator, often goes in and out of the electrostatic precipitator to check the working conditions of the cathode and anode plates and the ash hopper during the installation and debugging stage of the precipitator. Every time he climbs out of the precipitator, he is not clean except for the eyeshade, and the whole person is like a coal ball. Li Peng, who is in charge of civil construction, can always be seen on the top of the chimney during the construction period, as long as the site is under construction, no matter day or night. During the construction of the gypsum conveying trestle, he walked at least 30,000 steps a day and made round-trip inspections. No matter whether it was muddy after rain or windy autumn wind on the Danube, he could not stop his steps. Hao Zheng, from the very beginning of his graduation, went to the site to work as an interpreter. He endured hardships and stood hard work. He was completely unlike a young college student who had just graduated. Selfless dedication may be a virtue for others, but it is only a trivial matter for the members of the project department.
    One’s persistence  

Working overseas sometimes makes one lonely. CMEC Serbia Branch was established in order to carry out the company’s localized management strategy, explore the European market, better respond to various Serbian laws and regulations, and evade tax laws and other disputes for project implementation. At the beginning of the company, Mao Shaohua rented and decorated a house, recruited local employees, and contacted and consulted local laws, taxation, customs, and other matters to figure out everything for setting up a company in Serbia step by step. One person almost completed the entire process of the company’s local registration. Now the Serbian branch has expanded. Mao Shaohua’s efforts have contributed greatly.

    People engaged in engineering construction value brotherhood 
Project Manager Wang Pengfei often said that those who have been engaged in engineering construction need to emphasize brotherhood, so as to avoid fooling of foreigners and construction teams. This is true. However, seen from another point of view, the brotherhood is fully reflected in our overseas project department’s life after work. All project members said that they would like to have a good time with their friends, call them brothers, and put down his social identity. At the site and the wine table, everyone is destined to come together from thousands of miles away. They are like brothers from a family. It can be said that there is full of lofty brotherhood. The wine has shortened our distance and eliminated tiredness and pressure of work. The next day, we returned to our positions hand in hand again, with vitality. The work efficiency was greatly improved.
    Undertaking a project and making a group of friends  
Chief Engineer Zhang Zili has friends all over the world. He has a pet phrase, “undertaking a project and making a group of friends.” In Serbia, as local people are hospitable, the project department cannot fail to live up to the trust and friendship of the Serbian people. In friendly cooperation, the project department would do what it promises and fulfil its mission, fully safeguarding the rights and interests of employees. Local employees repeatedly said that in Serbia, few companies could provide them with social security. However, CMEC can supply fairer treatment than Serbian companies! “I hope you will stay forever!” This is already the voice of every Serbian employee working in the project department.

The project manager of a local insulation material supplier, encouraged by the project department, expressed his love to a Serbian interpreter. The two finally tied the knot, which composed a good story. During the flood disaster in 2014, the project department donated water pumps, food, and other necessities for the local disaster area. When the project department almost bought up their supermarkets, the waiters all gave thumbs up when they learned that the supplies were delivered to the disaster area via the Red Cross. The project department has been in Serbia for six years. If there are festivals, dances or garden activities in the surrounding cities, towns or even villages, the project department will be invited to participate. But local people’s wedding and birthday party, the project department personnel already did not know how many times they had attended. When nearby villagers return from hunting, they would also bring some geese or rabbits to the project department. This is the happiness of doing the project in Serbia!
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