When Dr Kuang Pingjian made the decision to relocate to Wuhu City in China's Anhui province to embark on the Wuhu Sanshan Port project five years ago, his friends and even his wife were surprised by his decision.
Armed with a PhD in Computer Science from Sun Yat-Sen University, one of China's top universities, and with in-depth experience working at numerous multinational companies in senior management positions, Pingjian, 39, had the option to live and work in a first-tier city. Instead, he bravely chose to go to an area that had not yet made the cut as a third-tier city until this year.
Pingjian, Assistant GM of Operation & Engineering at Wuhu Sanshan Port, shared, "At that time, many people thought that my decision to go to Wuhu meant taking a step back. However, I was inspired by my boss, Mr Vincent Ko. I remember him asking me, ‘how many decades does one have in his lifetime and how many of such projects can one be given to see through?' To me, Wuhu Sanshan Port is one such golden opportunity.
"From being an outfit run by only three employees in 2009, Wuhu Sanshan Port has now grown into a river port with over a hundred employees. Located along the Yangtze River, this 50:50 joint venture project between Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation (Keppel T&T) and Sinotrans Ltd will have four 10,000 deadweight tonne berths and an annual handling capacity of more than seven million tonnes when completed.
Two of the 10,000 deadweight tonne berths of the port's phase one started trial operations in April 2013. The port can currently accommodate three million tonnes of break bulk commodity cargo, 600,000 tonnes of break bulk conventional cargo and 100,000 twenty foot equivalent units (TEU)
of throughput. Pingjian first joined Keppel Logistics (Foshan), a subsidiary of Keppel T&T, as an IT manager in 2001.
Subsequently, he was rotated to the business development department, where he was involved in the evaluation and development of various projects. Later, he took on the challenge to spearhead the construction and operations
of Wuhu Sanshan Port.
He said, "Job rotations are critical for a person to move from a technical role to a managerial one. The exposures I have had to different job scopes and the responsibilities that I have been given have been integral to my career and personal growth."
Pingjian usually visits his family in Guangzhou once a month. The father of two young children, aged three and eight, shared that he was given the opportunity to transfer out of Wuhu and move closer to home, but had declined the offer. He explained, "At a personal level, I have watched this project being built from scratch and have developed a special attachment to it. From a corporate perspective, I strongly believe in the potential of the project and would like to see through its realisation. From a societal perspective, this project has benefited hundreds of families in the city. These are my strong motivations to see the project through."
Dr Kuang Pingjian, Assistant GM of Operation & Engineering at Wuhu Sanshan Port, with his wife, Ms Li Qin, at the tourist attraction of Ya Mountain, when she visited him at Wuhu in 2012