German railway strike adds to supply issues

A strike at German railway operator Deutsche Bahn is jeopardising the already difficult recovery of the economy, several economic organisations have warned.

The strike was started on Tuesday by train drivers union Gewerkschaft Deutscher Lokomotivführer (GDL) and is announced to last until 13 August.

“Companies now need stability and planning security,” says Steffen Kampeter, head of the Federation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA). “Therefore, reliable freight transport is indispensable for strengthening the still fragile economic upswing,” he says in a statement retweeted by steel federation WV Stahl.

According to calculations by the Institute of the German Economy (IW) and the experience of past strikes, the GDL strike could be expensive for many companies that depend on deliveries by rail. The costs would depend above all on the duration of the strike. It will take about three to four days until the companies clearly feel the consequences of the strike, the institute says. According to empirical values from previous GDL strikes, the daily losses for companies could amount to up to €100 million ($117m).

Steel transportation by rail has seen extra impairment already by the flood that hit especially the Ruhr region three weeks ago, Kallanish notes.

Christian Koehl Germany