DB Cargo cutbacks to spare steel: reports

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has spoken out against media reports stating that its freight train subsidiary DB Cargo is loss-making and facing massive cutbacks on personnel and operations. This issues it is facing would nevertheless have limited impact on steel transports.

The cutbacks would essentially affect the operation of single wagons transports, which require overproportional cost and effort, and are not profitable in any country where DB Cargo operates, it says in a statement.

The company notes that one remedy would be advanced digitalisation using a system named Digitale Automatische Kupplung (DAK). This programme requires support from the ministry of transport and digitalisation, which the company hopes to receive in the public interest of strengthening rail transport versus road truck transport.

The company’s problems with single wagon transport would be of little harm to the steel industry, which normally requires big loads with many wagons. In fact, reports by Reuters and Handelsblatt cite an internal paper of DB stating that it eventually would confine itself to serving customers from the steel, automotive and chemicals industries.

DB’s official statement does not mention those industries, nor did the company provide details to Kallanish on its preferred customer groups. In recent years, DB Cargo has announced a number of cooperations for the transport of steel and scrap that also involved neighbouring countries. Most recently, it announced an extension of its collaboration with Austria’s voestalpine (see Kallanish 3 July).

Christian Koehl Germany