COLOMBO, April 14 (Xinhua) -- The sunset in Sri Lanka is ravishing. Sometimes, the descending sun gently kisses the boundless Indian Ocean; sometimes it shyly hides behind the exotic church.
But for Yuri Kannangara, he always appreciates the unique beauty of the sunset in Colombo Port where the sun pours its last radiance of the day on the container trailers bustling around and the quay cranes standing erectly under the sky with layered colorful containers put aside.
Yuri is the assistant general manager of the Operations Department in Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT). He always takes great pride in the sunset scene in the port.
Yuri told Xinhua that for staff like him who has been a member of the company since the inception of CICT, "witnessing CICT is thriving with its annual throughput increasing year by year, I feel like I am growing up together with the company."
"CICT is a high-level Sino-Sri Lanka joint venture with advanced equipment, cutting-edge operational technology and perfect talent training mechanism," he said.
When the international financial crisis broke out in 2008, many world famous port enterprises suddenly quit bidding for Colombo's South Container Terminal, but China Merchants Group (CMG) was still determined to work together with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Eventually, Sino-Sri Lanka joint venture CICT was established to build the first deepwater terminal in South Asia.
In 2014, the same year when CICT came into operation, the Port of Colombo became the fastest growing port in the world with throughput growth rate increasing by 14 percent.
In 2015, it managed to achieve a 7-percent growth although the global marine market was facing depression. In 2016, thanks to Yuri and his colleagues' efforts, the throughput of the Colombo Port rose by 11 percent, pushing Sri Lanka's maritime industry towards a new stage.
CICT's steady growth has proven to be a successful investment model not only in Sri Lanka, but also in other countries along the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
Ren Rui, the CEO of CICT, said that under the Belt and Road Initiative, CMG's global network has spanned across 18 countries, covering a total of 48 ports. Cooperation with local enterprises has brought both economic and social benefits.
For local staff like Yuri, they joined the Sino-Sri Lanka joint venture not only because they wanted to make contributions to the country's economy, but also they were attracted by the company's professionalism and great reputation.
Joining CICT gives Yuri and his workmates a sense of honor. Additional benefits such as competitive salaries and comprehensive talent training system also provide them with ample opportunities to achieve their goals.
CICT regularly dispatches staff to Shenzhen to learn advanced operational skills. Yuri was among the first batch of staff participating in the program.
So far, numerous CICT workers have followed Yuri's footsteps to Shenzhen. And most of those trained staff like Yuri have become the mainstay of the company.
Yuri acknowledged that before joining CICT, his knowledge about wharf equipment was very limited. But now, he has become a skilled quay crane operator.
Statistics indicate that during the port construction and operating period, more than 10,000 direct employment opportunities can be created by CICT in Sri Lanka.
Apart from providing jobs, CICT has actively engaged in charitable events, such as distributing optical lenses to cataract patients, sponsoring wheelchair tennis games, and giving donations to affected families and hospitals after a flood attacked Sri Lanka in 2016.
Ren Rui told Xinhua that in future, CICT will continue to use the great opportunity brought by the Belt and Road Initiative to further expand the shipping services network center based in Port of Colombo and to eventually help Sri Lanka become a regional shipping, aviation, business, energy and knowledge center in the region.