Rubber-tired gantry cranes (RTG) operator Ekanayaka (L) talks with Chinese technical staff at the Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) in Sri Lanka, Aug. 14, 2018. (Xinhua/Zhu Ruiqing)
In the container yard of the Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT), the joint venture between China Merchants Holding International and Sri Lanka Port Authority, there are 40 rubber-tired gantry cranes (RTG) which are loading and unloading containers everyday in a busy and orderly manner.
However, unlike traditional container yards, the container yard of the CICT has no loud noises or a pungent odor from the diesel generators.
A 44-year-old Ekanayaka is an RTG operator at this container yard.
Around 20 meters above ground, Ekanayaka has been working in the RTG cabin for years, which allows him to clearly witness CICT's modification project, which convert traditional RTG to ERTG (Electrified Rubber Tired Gantry crane) by upgrading the existing RTG to an electric system in order to modify the RTG driving power from the built-in diesel-generator set to electricity power supply.
Ekanayake also became a direct beneficiary of this environment-friendly project.
"The black smoke from the diesel engine has disappeared, the noise has gone, and the failure rate of the RTG also has been greatly reduced," Ekanayake told Xinhua.
In 2013, Ekanayake joined CICT when it was newly built, and became an RTG and Quay Crane (QC) operator.
Ekanayake was quite satisfied with what the work has brought to him. He had not only been sent to China to undergo training, but he also travelled to African and Latin American countries to train RTG and QC operators for terminals invested by China Merchants there.
As an operator and coach of the RTG and QC, Ekanayake once set a productivity record of loading or unloading 96 TEUs (20-foot standard containers) per hour in CICT.
However, before the ERTG modification came into effect, Ekanayake said the noise and air pollution he had to face daily at work made him feel very uncomfortable.
"Because traditional RTG cranes are driven by diesel generator sets, which inevitably produces exhaust emissions. And the diesel generator sets were very noisy," Ekanayake explained.
In November 2017, CICT announced the completion of the ERTG project of all 40 RTGs, making it the first of its kind in Sri Lanka and the largest green terminals in South Asia.
Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Dr. Parakrama Dissanyayake said that Sri Lanka was a country that attached great importance to environmental protection and the CICT's ERTG project had set an excellent example for other companies in the port and shipping industry in Sri Lanka.
The engineer in charge of the ERTG project told Xinhua that this project applied the world-recognized advanced green environmental protection technology, with innovation and tropical-environment adaptive modification, which not only reduced air pollution and noise, but also reduced operating and maintenance costs and increased equipment attendance.
According to statistics, the ERTG project was in line with Sri Lanka's environment-friendly standards. This modification reduced the diesel consumption and total direct carbon dioxide emissions of the RTG by 95 percent and the comprehensive carbon emission by 45 percent.
Zou Hui, head of the engineering department of CICT, said, "the ERTG project proves that our company is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We hope that we will not only bring investment to Sri Lanka but also advanced technology and environmental protection concepts."
Witnessing that the working environment had improved dramatically, Ekanayake's work enthusiasm has increased even more.
"I am very pleased that my company has taken environmental friendly policies as a priority. Being a member of an environmentally friendly China-funded company, I'm really proud," he said.