Development of business units

Markets and strategy

DB Cargo operates a closely-­­knit international network and is active in 17 countries in Europe and China. This unparalleled network is the foundation for building further on DB Cargo’s leading position in the European rail freight transport market.

Rail freight transport in Germany and Europe will grow in the long term. For the European freight transport market, growth of over 20% is expected by 2030 due to global economic development and growing trade flows. Despite strong growth in types of goods predisposed to truck transport, this cannot be overcome by road freight transport alone. Protecting the climate is another major challenge. As freight transport on the rail emits 80% fewer greenhouse gases than freight transport on the road, neither the German nor the European climate targets can be achieved without a significant shift in the mode of transport from the road to the environmentally friendly rail. As a result, rail freight transport is becoming increasingly important, and DB Cargo is rising to meet this challenge.

In addition, the Federal Government has decided on measures to strengthen rail freight transport in Germany in the long term. Central topics include increased infrastructure performance capacity, the digitalization and automation of rail freight transport, and the promotion of single wagon transport and multimodal transport concepts. In addition,  train-path price support already began being effectively introduced in mid-2018 in order to make rail more attractive for additional transport services compared to the road from a price perspective and to support capital expenditures. Overall, the policy in Germany aims to increase the market share of rail freight transport in the long term.

In order to be able to participate in market growth, DB Cargo must first effect a turnaround to improve its qual­ity and productivity in Germany and Europe. These are the prerequisites for satisfied customers, more transport orders and profitable growth. In order for DB Cargo to develop its strategic development contribution to

Strong Rail strategy, the Strong Cargo program has been established. Procedures, processes and structures were adjusted here in several modules, both in production – particularly in single wagon transport – and at the interfaces to sales and distribution, in order to increase competitiveness and to make DB Cargo fit for the future.

In order to achieve the objectives, the strategy of DB Cargo comprises the three strategic areas of the Strong Rail strategy:

  • DB Cargo is becoming MORE ROBUST: DB Cargo will build up the necessary vehicle and personnel capacities, thus aligning itself towards profitable growth and technological innovations. In order to do this, we will invest in the intelligent expansion of the fleet (multisystem locomotives and modular freight cars) and drive forward the level of automation of the fleets and maintenance. In order to improve our operating performance, we will, even in the context of demographic changes, update and further qualify operating personnel in a targeted manner (drivers, switchmen and car inspectors) and negotiate for more competitive working conditions that can be selected based on life phases..

  • DB Cargo is becoming MORE POWERFUL: DB Cargo will further stabilize its internal and customer-­­specific processes by focusing and simplifying the organization. To this end, we will implement a culture of excellence and proactivity in order to continuously increase reliability and punctuality for our customers. To facilitate reliable management of operational personnel, networks and operational activities, we will drive forward digitalization and automation (for example planning, scheduling, implementation, automated station handling and paperless transport). At the European level, we will actively engage in the harmonization of procedures and regulations such as European braking regulations and general frameworks (TCR) and begin preliminary work ourselves.

  • DB Cargo is becoming MORE MODERN: DB Cargo will create a clear added value for its customers and increase the attractiveness of its products, not least through the use of digital technologies and the effortless switch between transport modes. On the one hand, we will focus on the operation of high-­­performance, economically viable single wagon transport and on the other hand on international growth segments, multimodal door-­­to-­­door transport and intermodal supply chain control.

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