Of the ten world’s busiest ports, 8 are situated in Asia, and the one here in Qingdao ranks 8th world wide. So I was more than happy when I got the opportunity to visit it to get to know the city from another angle. It takes a while to get there, as it is located at the other side of the bay, maybe an hour or so, but as it was part of the nice Qingdao International Business Association (QIBA) event I was allowed to attend (the one with the amazing German food, yummy), I only hat to board the comfy bus and lean back.
To be honest, by just driving through it, one does not realize how big and important this port is. For an ordinary person like me, who is not hanging out at industrial sites all the time, this looked just as like a port. Of course, forty, fifty meter high cranes and other machinery DOES look massive.
But I myself would have never noticed that this port is exceptionally clean, for example, as somebody else pointed out. The way they manage the port (or, to be more precise, the Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal) was more interesting. Transparency is one of the manager’s most loved words, and along the walls in the main building are rows and rows of tables with people’s salaries. And deductions, too. A pity I can’t read Chinese. Asked for what he sees as the biggest challenge in managing the port, he said that it is the diversity of the workforce. The workers come from many parts of China, speak different dialects, and come here just for work and without the support of family and friends. They get assigned to teams though, and the team then becomes somewhat a substitute family, with everything from eating together to helping out if someone has a problem. I can’t help it, but people are just far more interesting than heavy machinery and the effort they put in to managing this huge terminal impressed me more than the cranes. Definitely a different side to cute and lovely Qingdao!