It is a windy day with rain showers. ThePort of Boston is busy as usual, with towering cranes plucking containers from a giant vessel.
But over a decade ago, the port was confronted with a crisis of existence, with thousands of jobs at risk. Things took a turn when a Chinese shipping company came to the rescue.
China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), a Beijing-based shipping firm headquartered about 10,000 km away from Boston, "helped the city's languishing port become thriving again," recalled Gene Hartigan, a 62-year-old Bostonian native and father of two daughters.
Hartigan served as an adviser to the Chinese largest shipping firm over the past ten years and witnessed COSCO's operation at the port, which brought well-paid jobs to Boston, U.S. state of Massachusetts for dock workers and others who had kids to support and mortgages to pay.
In recognition of the Chinese firm's contribution to the local economy, the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), the leading union of maritime workers in North America, in March awarded Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao "Best Friend of the American Worker" at an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the partnership between the U.S. port and COSCO.