Hungary: the gateway to Southeastern Europe
As Europe's largest freight operating company, DB Cargo has a unique network of 16 national companies, which we will be introducing to you in no particular order. Today: DB Cargo Hungária Kft. (DBCHU) in Győr, Hungary.
The national Hungarian company's roots reach back to a time when it was the factory railway for Audi. DB Cargo founded the company in Győr in 2001 to perform shunting services at the automaker's local factory. At first, only engines were built there. Later, so were complete vehicles such as the TT, the A3, and as of recently, the Q3.
The company received its railway licence in 2011 and has been successfully providing transport services ever since, capturing an increasing share of international service. Today, with its central location in Southeastern Europe, DBCHU is a key component of DB Cargo's European network. The shunting business, however, still brings in the most turnover, around 50%. In addition to Audi, Mercedes-Benz in Kecskemét and other companies and industries at a total of four sites use DB Cargo Hungária's factory shunting services.
DBCHU now has more than 25 locomotives for traction and shunting operations. With roughly 200 employees, it generated EUR 11.8 million in turnover and produced 155 million tonne kilometres in 2017.
A new boss from Germany
In May 2018, Jan Busch (42), who is from Mainz and has a degree in business administration, became the first non-Hungarian speaker at the helm of DBCHU. Busch has been with DB Cargo since 2007 and has held leading positions since 2011. He is now responsible for P&L and business in Hungary and is working in parallel to drive DB Cargo's development in the Southeastern European corridor.
Busch appreciates the scale of DBCHU: "You are closer to your customers and colleagues; everyone knows each other. Everything is also more hands on, which helps you to get to know the challenges much better. We take a pragmatic approach to overcome language barriers by simply using Google or by rephrasing things." Nevertheless, it goes without saying that Busch is hitting the books hard to learn Hungarian, which doesn't come easy. His focus for the national company is on continuing to pursue a long-term path of growth and expanding the product range in line with what customers want.
The challenges in Hungary are the same as elsewhere in Europe: DBCHU is looking for qualified employees, especially train drivers and shunters, and it also has to keep an eye on the increased cost of energy, personnel and services to ensure that the company will stay profitable and customers will remain satisfied.