Cambodian hospital project can be completed on schedule despite virus onslaught: manager

By Huang Ge Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/16 21:13:40

A coal-fired power plant project under the cooperation of China and Cambodia was launched in Sihanoukville, Cambodia in December 2019. Photo: CNS photo

The lack of technical support and material supply due to the novel coronavirus outbreak has hindered progress of some overseas projects undertaken by China, but Chinese enterprises are rolling out contingency plans to ensure the projects are delivered on schedule.

A project in Tboung Khmum Province of Cambodia involving a hospital with 300 beds is going along soundly and construction work was not suspended even during the Chinese Spring Festival holidays, Kang Yong, project manager with China Railway Construction Group Co (CRCG), told the Global Times on Sunday.

Work on the hospital, which will be equipped with high-technology medical equipment and is valued at 270 million yuan ($38.6 million), started in February 2019 and is planned to be completed by October 2021.

"We didn't realize the virus may affect work that much in January, but we prepared construction materials such as rebar, steel plate, water pipes and some mechanical equipment in China and shipped them to Cambodia before the Spring Festival holidays," Kang said.

"We are working on the major part of the hospital and its roof can be capped by the end of March as planned," Kang said.

"But domestic procurement will be delayed around 20 days because many Chinese companies and factories that we work with are likely to resume work by around early March," the manager said, noting that 90 Chinese employees have to stay at the site and the company has strictly regulated personnel movements.

Domestic capacity has not fully recovered because of transport restrictions and extended holidays, a situation that is likely to affect projects in foreign markets, business representatives said. Companies also face difficulties such as lack of staff.

Due to restrictions by some foreign countries over arrivals from the Chinese mainland because of the virus, "we have rescheduled plans for sending employees, technicians in particular, to overseas markets," said Chen Kai, general manager of Terminexus under Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co.

"We'll try to increase staff from local markets and allocate personnel from around the globe to support production," Chen said.

"For instance, we assigned one of our technicians who was on vacation in Canada to support a smart port project in the US," said Chen, noting that the company will not make any compromise in its target this year in the world market.

The company also released strict rules to protect their Chinese and foreign employees such as disinfection, temperature monitoring and requesting workers to wear masks, Chen said. 

China has attached great importance to domestic companies' response amid the viral epidemic. The Ministry of Commerce released a notice asking Chinese companies that are in charge of construction work in overseas markets to evaluate potential risks to their projects amid the novel coronavirus outbreak and take timely measures.


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