Frank Busse gazes at the CTA at sunset as though he were seeing it for the first time; he still finds it fascinating. “Of course, you have to like a certain industrial charm,” he admits. But is there anyone who isn’t excited by the vast site with thousands of containers from all over the world – by its complex automated logistics and Europe’s biggest container rail terminal? After more than 20 years at HHLA, it’s something Busse can scarcely imagine.
The 48-year-old learned about port handling entirely within the Group – initially as an industrial engineering student on an internship, and in the course of his thesis. He later became a trainee, Deputy Head of the ship handling department, and head of the hinterland transport department at Burchardkai. He has been a corporate consultant at HPC since 2009. His first internship was decisive: “It was clear to me that port operations were just right for me.”
Busse has already benefited from his wealth of experience with many projects. He finds long-term projects particularly intriguing, such as the construction of the new railway sidings at Burchardkai. He also likes the fact that his job has already taken him to very different corners of the world, including Bangladesh, Russia and Chile.
One particular highlight was a consulting project on a modal shift to inland waterway ships on the Ganges River in India, which had hardly been used for this purpose. “The challenge was that the river is sacred to Hindus,” reports Busse, who was the project team leader. Despite this complex situation, he helped raise the profile of inland shipping as a feasible transport alternative. Busse admits he is a bit proud of this kind of work.
For three years, he has been involved in what is probably the most sensational HHLA project: the HyperPort. When Busse explains the details about the project, his enthusiasm is contagious. “We looked into 15 types of constructions that open doors so the capsules can be loaded and unloaded, before deciding on a mechanism,” says the industrial engineer. He indicates the model in front of him, which shows how containers will be transported through a tube using magnetic levitation and a vacuum. HHLA and the US company HyperloopTT are working on the project together.
Shortly before his 25th work anniversary, Busse is bringing all his knowledge to this project, which will connect the hinterland with rail and truck transport. He believes a few kilometres of test routes will exist in five years: “It’s technically realistic.” And if you wonder why HHLA is doing this, you should just ask Busse, who looks as excitedly at this project as he does at the CTA.