Developments in relevant markets
German passenger transport market
In passenger transport our objective is to maintain our strong market position in the rail and bus transport market in Germany in the long term.
Passenger transport market in Germany
|Growth rate||Market share|
|Motorized individual transport|
|Rail passenger transport|
|Public road passenger transport|
|Air transport (domestic)|
Figures for 2018 and 2019 are based on information and estimates available as of February 2020. For motorized individual transport, there was a retroactive reduction in volume sold from 2017 onwards due to methodological adjustments by the German Institute for Economic Research (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung).
In 2019, the German passenger transport market grew slightly more strongly than in the previous year:
- Based on our own estimates, volume sold in motorized private transport has increased moderately:
- Positive effects due to slightly declining fuel prices as well as a stable labor market situation and higher wages and salaries available.
- The market share of the motorized private transport was at the previous year’s level.
- The volume sold in rail passenger transport increased noticeably:
- Regional rail passenger transport and long-distance rail passenger transport continued to benefit from the strong income and employment situation.
- DB Group recorded moderate growth in volume sold, mainly due to supply adjustments and expansions at DB Long-Distance, while DB Regional experienced declines due to tender losses in the previous year.
- Non-Group railways significantly increased their volume sold. FlixTrain expanded its offer and was able to more than double the number of passengers in long-distance rail passenger transport at a low level, according to our own estimates.
- The market share of rail passenger transport increased.
- The volume sold in public road passenger transport stagnated:
- Long-distance bus services recorded significant losses. The driver was a decline in supply at the market leader FlixBus, which recorded slight passenger declines for the first time. At the same time, Pinkbus and BlaBlaBus entered the market for the first time.
- The volume sold in local bus transport decreased slightly due to declining high school student numbers.
- DB Regional Bus declined markedly due to declining demand in rural areas and losses of tenders.
- The market share of public road passenger transport declined.
- The volume sold in domestic German air transport decreased:
- The number of domestic German flights and seats offered remained below the level before the Air Berlin insolvency. Eurowings, in particular, reduced its domestic German flights in its winter schedule.
- Strikes at Lufthansa worsened negative development.
- The market share of air transport remained unchanged.
German freight transport market
Freight transport market in Germany
|Growth rate||Market share|
|Rail freight transport|
|Road freight transport|
|Inland waterway transport|
Figures for 2018 and 2019 are based on information and estimates available as of February 2020.
In 2019, the performance development of the German freight transport market fell short of expectations. Growth weakened again compared with the previous year, which was marked by record low levels, and remained significantly below the average for the last five years, with an annual increase of about 2.3%. This was mainly due to the noticeable economic slowdown with declining industrial production. In this environment, individual modes of transport developed very differently.
Rail freight transport
The Federal Statistical Office once again significantly expanded its reporting scope in 2019 in regards to the Statistics on Rail Freight Transport. On the one hand, this resulted in a significantly improved picture of the market situation but, on the other, means that no solid market development could be presented due to the lack of comparable data for the previous year. Corrections were also made for the years 2016 and 2017, which resulted in deviations from our previous reporting.
According to our own calculations, no growth could be recorded in volume sold by the freight railways in Germany in 2019. This was caused by declined development in the key industries for rail freight transport, such as the steel, chemicals and automotive industries.
- The economic environment deteriorated significantly. The shifts back towards inland waterway transport, which had supported the development in the previous year as a result of the low water, also had a negative impact.
- The development of individual product groups compared with the previous year cannot be quantified as a result of the changes made to the reporting scope by the Federal Statistical Office. This also applies to combined transport, the development of which similarly lost momentum, most likely mainly due to weaker trade stimuli.
- According to our calculations, non-Group railways again recorded above-average development in 2019, but the performance level of the previous year was not entirely achieved. This was supported by transport shifts from DB Cargo because of, among other things, quality reasons or entry by former cooperation partners in cross-border transport into the German section of transports.
Road freight transport
The development of road freight transport significantly lost momentum in 2019 compared with the strong growth in the previous year. The market share remained virtually unchanged.
- The sustained above-average development of the trucks registered abroad is also confirmed in the results of the toll statistics of the Federal Office of Freight Transport. The strongest growth rates continued to be achieved by trucks from the Central and Eastern European region. Above all, trucks from Poland, Lithuania and Romania recorded a high growth rate.
- In addition to the further increase in demand from the construction industry, the performance development was also supported by robust development in the consumer goods sector and the share of transport in intermediate goods, which was lower in comparison to rail. Another growth contribution was also provided by stimuli from the similarly weakened but still positive trade in goods, especially from the import of goods, in which the vehicles registered abroad clearly dominate. Their share of total road freight transport is steadily increasing in cross-border transports and cabotage transports.
- The truck market was characterized by a persistently high level of competition, a scarce resource availability that continued until the autumn, and significantly increased costs as a result of the expansion of the truck toll on all Federal roads as of July 1, 2018, the noticeable increase in toll charges as of January 1, 2019 and additional personnel costs. The lower fuel prices, on the other hand, had a dampening effect.
In inland waterway transport, 2019 showed a strong positive baseline effect after the low-water-related slump in performance in the previous year. Overall, however, the performance increase was lower than expected due to the weak economic stimuli. The market share did recover after the heavy loss in the previous year, but remained significantly below the value of 2017.
- By type of goods, the strongest increases were recorded in the areas of iron ore/rock/earth and coke/petroleum products. In transported containers, however, development continued to be weak and in the areas of coal/petroleum/natural gas and secondary raw materials/waste, it was lower even than the previous year’s level.
European rail freight transport market
The volume sold in European rail freight transport (EU 28, Switzerland and Norway) decreased in 2019. This was particularly due to the continued decline in the coal sector and the weak development in other key industries, such as steel, chemicals and automotive. On the other hand, European foreign trade had a supporting effect. The positive stimuli came mainly from transport services across the North Sea ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg and the China transports. Combined transport once again achieved an above-average growth contribution.
Of the top railways in Europe, the French Fret SNCF, in particular, was able to increase its volume sold. The reason for this is, however, above all the catch-up effect following the massive strikes in the previous year. On the other hand, the strikes that occurred again at the end of the year had a negative impact. Volume sold decreased in the European network of DB Cargo. While development in the Eastern and Central regions had a negative impact on the overall result, development in the Western region remained stable.