Annual Report 2023

Freight train loaded with containers, in the background there is a crane and an HHLA employee walking away (Photo)

Green light for freight trains

Transporting containers on rails in a climate-friendly and reliable way across Europe – that is the responsibility of Matej Franc as Head of Rail Operations at Metrans Danubia in Slovakia.

There is a lot happening along Europe’s railways. Matej Franc must constantly keep his ear to the ground. New routes, rescheduling, new rail drivers, organizing repair work – all across numerous countries. But the Head of Rail Operations at HHLA subsidiary Metrans Danubia does not let the great effort show. “Our trains run always,” he says with confidence. “Everyone here at Metrans has the customer in mind, I can rely on that.”

Matej Franc stands in front of an unloaded container train at Metrans Danubia (Photo)

“My goal is not only to ensure smooth processes on the rails but also to create a sustainable future. And with rail transport, we not only bring goods safely to their destination but do so in a climate-friendly way.“

Matej Franc

Head of Rail Operations at Metrans Danubia, 12 years with HHLA Group

Matej joined Metrans 12 years ago and is particularly proud of the modern rail terminal in Dunajská Streda, Slovakia. The facility was built on the flat lowlands of the Danube in 2006, and the first container was handled in February 2007. Today, around 15,000 standard containers are stored there, and 600 employees handle around 20 trains every day which then depart for the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, among other countries.

Metrans offers a “total full service”, says Matej. Containers are handled, stored and transported, and, if need be, also weighed, cleaned or repaired. The train boss himself only has a single hobby – trains.

In his free time, he experiments with new technological solutions and can often be found in the terminal’s own workshop. There, for example, maintenance work is done on diesel locomotives, which Metrans uses on routes that have not yet been electrified.

Matej started his career with trains as a student at the Railway Secondary School, where he completed a four-year traineeship and obtained his school diploma. He was then trained as a train specialist at the University of Transport.

Standard container
A TEU is a 20-foot standard container, used as a unit for measuring container volumes. A 20-foot standard container is 6.06 metres long, 2.44 metres wide and 2.59 metres high.
In maritime logistics, a terminal is a facility where freight transported by various modes of transport is handled.

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