Rail dream comes true for Chi­nese worker

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA -

Ma Jiangcheng, 59, had a dream to ful­fill be­fore his re­tire­ment: to work on a rail­way in a for­eign coun­try.

His whole life has been closely tied to railways. His par­ents once worked for a rail­way com­pany, and his wife re­tired from one. He him­self has worked with railways for more than 30 years. Nowhe’s a rail cargo ex­pert.

He has trav­eled to most parts of China in his work. But he never had the op­por­tu­nity to work on railways in a for­eign coun­try.

That changed in 2015 with plans for a China-made stan­dard-gauge rail­way from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to neigh­bor­ing Dji­bouti, cap­i­tal of the Re­pub­lic of Dji­bouti in theHorn of Africa.

Ar­riv­ing in Ethiopia last year, Ma stepped into a se­nior staff role for cargo trans­port with his com­pany, China Rail­way No 2 En­gi­neer­ing Group.

Adrought caused by El Nino had scorched the coun­try, and 10.1 mil­lion peo­ple des­per­ately needed food.

The Ethiopian gov­ern­ment asked the rail­way com­pany if it would help trans­port grain as re­lief sup­plies from the United Na­tions be­gan to pour into the port of Dji­bouti. Part of the line was still un­der con­struc­tion, though the sec­tion to Adama was com­plete.

The com­pany as­signed Ma to over­see the move­ment of re­lief sup­plies.

“I co­or­di­nated de­part­ments within the com­pany and in Ethiopia, ask­ing them to go all-out,” he said.

Soon, all sec­tors of the com­pany were mo­bi­lized. Nor­mal move­ment of ma­te­ri­als for the rail­way project be­came sec­ond pri­or­ity, and the com­pany trans­ferred the first train of 1,500 tons of grain from Dji­bouti port to Adama in two days.

Over­land truck trans­porta­tion took three days, com­pared with only 10 hours to Adama by rail.

The grain ship­ments con­tin­ued to be a pri­or­ity. When it’s loaded at Dji­bouti port, it is moved to Ethiopia im­me­di­ately. To date, 60 such trains with a to­tal weight of 88,000 tons of grain have been trans­ported to help ward off star­va­tion.

All this pro­vides Ma with a sense of sat­is­fac­tion: “I feel re­lieved when the grains are well dis­patched,” he said.

Ma Jiangcheng

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