Decade of Sword Grinding and Innovating with High Aspirations -- The story behind Argentina railway project of Engineering Dept.No.6

Release time:2018-01-05 Article source: Reading times: A+AA-

On the afternoon of May 17, 2017, the Great Hall of the People was solemn and serene, witnessed by President Xi Jinping and President of Argentina Macri, CMEC Chairman Sun Bai and Minister of Argentina's Ministry of Communications signed the first phase of supplementary agreement of Belgrano freight railway reconstruction project of Argentina, and the total contract amount was USD1.6 billion. This agreement is the Argentine government's affirmation of CMEC and encouragement and urging of the Argentine railway project team. At the subsequent symposium, President Xi put forward his ardent expectation for the Argentine railway project, "I hope that the project will not only achieve good economic benefits, but also great social benefits, and make the government and people of Argentina know more about China." 

 The highest praise - President Macri's sincere compliment

Chairman Sun Bai was still impressed when recalling the details of the negotiation and signing of the phased supplementary agreement on various occasions. He said, on the day when we negotiated with President Macri in the Argentine Presidential Office, the Argentine government had two groups of Chinese guests, one was the CMEC team for Argentine railway project that I led, and the other was the Alibaba team led by Jack Ma. It was planned to nail down the plan within 40 minutes, but after 50 minutes when it was overtime, the talking was still ongoing. The secretary of President Macri kept urging him to end the talk as soon as possible, but President Macri's interest did not wane, and he held my hand to continue the talking. When it came to disagreements in the contract, President Macri talked of some additional conditions while dishing out a series of lists in the hope of forcing us to give in. This was a crucial moment in the business game and also a moment involving the interests of the country. As the Argentine side was restless, we calmed down. And due to our persistence in the purchasing proportion of Chinese equipment, the meeting was lengthened. Why did President Macri attach so much importance to CMEC? It was CMEC people's professionalism, dedication, devotion to industry that won the respect of the Argentine government. Ultimately, President Macri agreed with our conditions. At this point, Jack Ma's team had been anxiously waiting outside for more than an hour. 

In May 2017, President Macri came to Beijing for the "Belt and Road" Forum for International Cooperation, and I met him at the Great Hall of the People. As soon as we met, President Macri waved at me, I quickly got up and smiled. In such a friendly atmosphere, we signed a supplementary agreement with the Ministry of Communications of Argentina. It was the professionalism of the Argentine railway team of CMEC that had been endorsed by all including the president and that won a good brand reputation for CMEC. As a leading international engineering contractor, CMEC adhered to responsibility-based development and business gaming. Due to the insistence of Chairman Sun Bai, the contract added the total amount and proportion of China's equipment procurement, which provided opportunities for China's railway-related construction and brought a considerable number of employment for both countries, thus demonstrating the responsibility of central enterprises and enhancing the brand reputation and soft power of CMEC. 


On the eve of his visit to Beijing for the "Belt and Road" Forum for International Cooperation, when accepting an interview with CCTV, President Macri spoke highly of the Argentine railway project carried out by CMEC, "CMEC has excellent performance in the restoration of Belgrano's freight line and we are considering signing a phase-II agreement with them, which will be another a few hundred kilometers of lines. We are very satisfied." The president's compliment, despite a few short remarks, is a great encouragement to workers of CMEC and the freight railway project department in Belgrano of Argentina! 


 The strongest adherence – heroes of Engineering Dept. No.6 who went 65 laps around the earth

The signing of the supplementary agreement of Argentine railway project phase-I meant too much for the Argentine railway project department. This was the result achieved through their arduous perspiration and wisdom, numerous setbacks and failure, and is another self-breakthrough and progress for them. The Argentine railway project team was a young, energetic and courageous team. The average age was only about thirty years old and the total number of people was less than 50. The Argentine railway project experienced unprecedented test from the initial development to exerting effect, however, workers of the Argentine railway project department were not intimidated by all kinds of hardship and bottleneck, but felt more and more courageous, actively enhanced communication and coordination with the owners, worked through day and night, and patiently and meticulously solved problems one by one. With the care of Chairman Sun Bai of CMEC and President Zhang Chun, and under the leadership of General Manager Yin Zhixin of the project, they tackled tough difficulties, conducted survey and design, technical inspection and business negotiations... This tenacious team was not afraid of turbulent rivers and treacherous shoals, and has successfully paved the "CMEC avenue" in the Pampas grassland.

The road of growth is arduous and long, and on this road, there are you, me and countless others. The people of the Argentine railway project department are all perfectionists, with strong entrepreneur spirit and sense of responsibility. They are the backbone of the development and execution force of the Argentine railway project. About the arduous development of the project in the past few years, Yin Zhixin, the leader of the Argentine railway project and general manager of Engineering Dept. No.6, had the deepest experience. The round-trip flight mileage from and to Argentina can circle around the earth 65 laps, and who can tell the hardship? Since the signing of the project in 2010, many young workers in the project department put aside their children, said goodbye to their loved ones, bid farewell to their parents, and undertook the significant task of on-site project implementation at the starting point for local operation of the project. They lived up to the company's ardent trust, gave full play to their initiative and pioneering spirit, and through repeated grinding with the government, finance, law institutions in the long run, as well as the work environment of low work efficiency in local area and laggard work style, strived to explore a communication channel conducive to the development of the project. In the face of a large number of arrival of goods, members of the project team drove to shuttle between the designated ports to be ready for safe discharge of railway materials and equipment. At the same time, there were numerous and complicated design liaison, procurement, test and delivery, etc. of locomotives, vehicles, fittings, sleepers, steel rail, and buckle accessories. Domestic workers also faced complicated business work. Heads of the project department entirely participated in the design, production, acceptance and delivery of equipment materials, showing great organizing and coordination capacity and playing an important role in the smooth progress of the project.

They are also the epitome of CMEC's countless people of overseas projects. Running with the dream, one can dwell everywhere, and where there is a need for construction and development, there are the hopes and dreams of CMEC people. They say they are proud that CMEC has a share in the unimpeded freight on the South American continent. 

 The most beautiful aspiration - the emissary to erect the bridge between the people of China and Argentina 

It was because Engineering Dept. No.6 had such a group of explorers and strivers that brilliant work of CMEC was left in Latin America. This significant project which President Xi expected to become the highlight project of Sino-Argentina economic and trade cooperation has affected the hearts of leaders of the two countries. The Argentine railway project is the largest project in the sector of railway transportation between China and Argentina, and also one of the most important projects under the framework of Sino-Argentina cooperation. And everyone in the Engineering Dept. No.6 felt proud to be engaged in the project. 

Today's CMEC, as a general contractor of international projects, goes to the other end of the earth bringing the best railway projects to the people of Argentina. This is just a small step for President Xi's expectation at the Argentine railway symposium and the first step for people to connect with each other. Someday in the future, we will transform "oversea" into "global", integrating global resources and follow the principle of achieving shared growth through consultation and collaboration. We will not only be the general contractor in a foreign country, but also the surname brothers of cultural harmonization with the people of Argentina. Taking the policy communication as the guarantee, the facility connection as the priority, the trade liberalization as the key and the fund circulation as the support, we will finally realize the good vision of people-to-people connection of the two countries. 


On July 4, 2017, the first broad-gauge locomotive supplied by CMEC was put into commercial operation. This is the first time for Argentina to renew the freight locomotive during the 44 years, and the locomotive as the highlight of the whole Argentine railway project has drawn the attention of all sides. The service of new locomotives is of milestone significance to the improvement of Argentine railway freight capacity and will become a highlight of the railway freight of Argentina. 

Next year is the tenth year for people of Engineering Dept. No.6 for the Argentine railway project to strive in Argentina. Over the ten years, tenacious people of Engineering Dept. No.6 have overcome many difficulties, obstacles and severe tests one by one. On the vast Pampas steppe, a vigorous and stalwart grand project of CMEC has begun to take shape. Ten years later, we will stay true to the mission to move on. Generations of the Argentine railway workers will continue to make unremitting efforts for the friendship between the peoples of China and Argentina along the continuously expanding double track. 

The way ahead is long, and in 2018, Argentina will succeed China as the rotating presidency of the G20. The Engineering Dept. No.6 will take this opportunity, rely on the deep mutual trust and cooperative relations established by the governments of China and Argentina, the rich experience of international contracting and equipment procurement as well as CMEC's "territorial management" mode, continue to strengthen and expand cooperation in Argentina and surrounding Latin American countries, build livelihood projects, and promote local development. We believe that CMEC which can develop abruptly based on its accumulated strength, will certainly take more steady steps and make greater contribution to the strategic mutual-benefit, synchronized advancement of social benefits and economic benefits, the deepening of bilateral strategic and cooperative partnership, and the sustainable development of political and economic patterns between China and Latin American countries.