Zhuhai Port: Interview with dragon crane operator Guoming Liang 梁国明 (C100)
Cinematographer: 刘井彬 Jingbin Liu
Duration: 00:12:08; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 36.792; Saturation: 0.197; Lightness: 0.264; Volume: 0.173; Cuts per Minute: 0.082; Words per Minute: 96.318
Zhuhai International Container Terminal, Gaolan
How long have you been operating?
This one? A couple of years.
How many years exactly?
About five years.
What's the difference between operating this kind of crane and the other kind of crane at the dock?
This kind of crane I am operating is only for loading and unloading vehchles within the port area. Bridge crane is for transporting the containers, as well as loading and unloading the ship. They have higher speed and better performance.
Is it more difficult to operate yours?
The one at the dock is more difficult to operate. It got more equipments and machines.
We interviewed a driver at the dock yesterday. He said that it is an exhausting job, because he needs to keep looking down like this when he operating his crane. When the containers have been hung up, he would like to look somewhere else to make his eyes relaxed.
How about operating your crane?
It's the same. That's what we call occupational disease. For me, it is the neck pain. It becomes worse and lasts for one week when I have to work for a long time.
Lasting for one week?
Maybe a couple of days, it depends
one man talking
one man talking
I found that most of the workers at the dock are male, aren't they?
Yes, they are.
Is it due to that there are mostly physical tasks at the dock?
No, it isn't. But it requires us to do it by hands and pay great attention to it. More importantly, it requires the crane operator to have a good eyesight. As the crane is 50 to 60 meters tall, which is equal to over 10 floors, you cannot see the details clearly when you look down from the top. For instance, if you look down from where we are now, 18 meter's height, you can see the big holes in the four containers clearly while on the bridge crane, you cannot. It is a matter of getting used to it. Once you get used to it, you can do it naturally.
For you, how much time did it take to get used to it?
Usually around half a year. Some companies only teach workers for one or two months if they are really in need of workers and don't expect them to be skillful. But usually, it takes half a year because the bridge crane requires the operaor to be skillful, or it will easily cause accident. As a container is tens of tons weight, once an accident happens, the consequence will be difficult to imagine. And the wireropes can't be touched by nonprofessionals. Once it breaks, the whole of them have to be replaced. So we have to maintain these machines regularly.
Are you always busy with your work?
Yes, I am. I feel exhausted after working for a day, mainly mentally. Sometimes I would take a nap when my eyes are tired, because I have to pay great attention to the aligning of string wire and the holes. Even if there is slight deviation, you would be doomed to fail.
Why do you want to be a crane operator?
At first I worked as a commander. I used to work at a crane command post.
Crane Command? From the Dispatching Centre?
Yes. We used to be equipped with a whistle, and we did different gestures to show the crane operator to lift and drop the containers. But it's nothing related to operating bridge crane. We received professional training to learn these gestures.
Professional training? Do you need this kind of gestures in operating gantry crane?
No, we don't.
Is it because you can see what's happening on the floor?
Yes. Gantry crane is lower at height.
And you can aim right without other people's help.
Right. Only if you are lifting parts and components, or some containers which are out of shape or too difficult to lift up, do you need the commander's instruction to tell you how to lift them up and lay them down.
So, you don't need a commander normally?
We have to follow the commaner's instructions if thers they are present.
Are you local?
yes, I am local.
So you choose to work here because it is close to your home?
Tha's right. I have been working for years
Over ten years?
Around five years?
Definitely. I think it is around 7 or 8 years if taking the previous working as a commander into counting.
Almost ten years.
Actully I was forklift driver before.
Is the ordinary forklift or..?
I drove the one that can lift 3 tons weight.
Does the weather has great influence on your work?
Yes, of cause. Especially in the rainly days, we barely can see nothing. Also, the continears will swing back and forth if the wind is too strong.
Then you couldn't aim right.
The containers will start to wobble.
We will stop working, if there is 18 grade wind
How about rainstorms?
The port will shut-down if the weather is too terrible. We value safety the most.
Right. It is also hard for you to work in pouring rain.
Mostly the safety problem is what we are concerned about.
Weather like today's is suitbale for working ,right?
Yes, it's a nice weather. I can see it clearly.
As you use your eyes gazing at these goods for a long time everyday, will you feel reluctant to watching TV at home after work?
It depends. Sometime I do.
In your family, are you the only one working at the dock?
In my family...right, but I do have many friends and neighbors working here.
So generally speaking, the workers here mostly live nearby, right?
To be honest, it is not that laborious to work at the dock. We drivers, as the second-tier workers, are less tired than the first-tier workers, who are exposed to the sun and the rain during working time.
Do you work by touching the screen for one time everytime you want to transport a container?
This is computer. The VNP is mainly for clarifying the container numbers. We have to clear that which container is at which place...
You have to match the numbers, right?
Yes. The exact position of each container is shown in the computer and we have to transport the containers according to the statistics stored in the computer.
So do you often play basketball after work? Or you have other activities with you collegues?
We usually play basketball together.
If they play, you will join them?
It is just a kind of entertainment.
Is it you hobby?
Do you play the basketball often? Or just once or twice a week?
Twice or three times a week.
That sounds good. Do you play at the court right over there?
Sometimes, and other times we play at other courts.
I found that we can see the factory over there.
Are you going to play basketball with shorts and sneakers on?