Freight railways join forces - Easily 25 percent rail transport 23/05/22

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Freight railways join forcesEasily 25 percent rail transport

Photo: NEE

By 2030, the private freight railways want to handle a quarter of all goods transport in Germany by rail. But this is not possible without the long-promised support of politicians.

The private freight railways see themselves in a position to ensure a market share of rail in freight transport of 25 percent by 2030. They are now putting pressure on politicians to actually implement the equivalent of around 210 billion tonne-kilometres of transport capacity: Almost 100 members have joined forces to form the "Die Güterbahnen" alliance, which was presented in Berlin under the direction of the Network of European Railways (NEE).

Concentrated traction: 35 percent by 2035
"We want that and more importantly, we can do it," said NEE CEO Ludolf Kerkeling at the new organization's first event in Berlin. "The freight railways are eager to use their concentrated tractive power for this goal and beyond and to master the transport turnaround with climate-friendly freight transport by rail." With the new alliance, politicians are now to become a real partner that sets the right framework conditions.

Burdening the environment even more
With their new appearance in the public perception, the private sector wants to get out of the shadow of the state-owned DB Group and is very self-confident. Already today, almost 60 percent of the service on the freight rail is provided by them, the alliance sees itself as the market leader and emphasizes: "Anyone who wants to protect the climate with environmentally friendly transport cannot ignore us." Transporting a quarter of goods by rail by 2030 means an increase of 60 percent. But an ambitious and European-based relocation policy could relieve the burden on roads and the environment even more, says Kerkeling: "Freight railways consider a transport capacity of more than 260 billion tonne-kilometres to be achievable by 2035."

Rail potential is not being exploited
The previous federal government had already set itself the goal of shifting a quarter of the goods to rail in the "Master Plan for Rail Freight Transport". "Environmentally friendly rail freight transport (is) playing a key role," the Ministry of Transport said in July 2021. Strengthening it is therefore a core task. But when it is put into practice, it rumbles enormously. In the industry, the impression has arisen that it is largely dealing with lip service. The private railways cannot exploit their potential due to numerous grievances and naturally find this annoying.

Huge Service problems at DB

This also applies to their customers from the logistics industry, and their interest in the railway is great. "Everyone wants to go by train to improve their CO2 balance," says the head of a forwarding company with over 6,000 employees. "But there are service problems at DB that are simply incomprehensible. Our employees are now completely desperate." Among other things, there is an enormous lack of construction site management. It is good that construction is taking place, but it happens again and again, for example, that the main and alternative routes are closed at the same time, is criticized. Across borders, there is a forti place a lack of coordination.

Mastering the transport transition
The railway expects German and European politicians to redesign the framework conditions and the rail infrastructure in a targeted manner. The freight railways and NEE as carriers are now also united by a new design: The logo of a moving freight train is supplemented by the sentence: "Because good is better on the rail". At the start of "Die Güterbahnen" there was double support. State Secretary for Transport Susanne Henckel said that together we would master the transport transition and continue to promote climate protection. Maike Schaefer, Chairwoman of the Conference of Transport Ministers and Bremen Senator for Transport, added that the relocation was a very important building block within the transport transition. "We need the freight railways," she added.
Author: Regina Weinrich