Development of business units

Markets and strategy

With the Strong Rail strategy, DB Cargo is committing to its social responsibility and making a meaningful contribution to the transport and climate policy targets in Germany and Europe. It is DB Cargo’s goal to shift transport from road to environmentally friendly rail for its customers. Thus DB Cargo is in line with the guiding principle of the Strong Rail strategy, namely a shift in the mode of transport to rail for a sustainable climate and mobility transition.

The aim of the Strong Cargo strategy is to strengthen DB Cargoʼs position in the long term so that it can make the necessary contribution to achieving its goals. The action plan is designed according to the slogan “Europe needs a strong rail logistics provider. For the climate and for a sustainable economy.” In this way, DB Cargo makes a significant contribution to increasing the modal share of rail in the German and European transport mix, while also improving its own economic sustainability. In 2022, DB Cargo therefore expanded its position as a specialist in European rail logistics with the integration of the Full Load Solutions (FLS) business area of DB Schenker. With FLS’s vast expertise, DB Cargo is increas­ingly offering tailor-made logistics and service solutions for all customers and can therefore achieve real added value for climate-friendly supply chains.

The development of energy costs, further price increases and bottlenecks in track infrastructure in Germany are the challenges for the next few years. Stabilization production and operating results are key areas of action for the Strong Cargo strategy in the three major business segments across Europe:

  • Rail logistics: To strengthen its market presence as a rail logistics service provider, DB Cargo systematically offers its customers industry-specific services in its customers’ supply chains. These are logistics solutions that essentially include rail performance and supplement these with additional modules (for example road traffic, warehousing and other individual logistics services).
  • Combined transport: DB Cargo will synchronize the operating activities already offered in combined transport and expand them throughout Europe. In close contact with its customers, DB Cargo will thus increase the attractiveness of rail services on the combined transport lines, thereby bringing more transport from road to rail.
  • Single wagon transport: The single wagon network is a key component of rail freight transport in Germany and Europe, but operated on a purely commercial basis it cannot be offered as a full-coverage network given the current general framework. For this reason, single wagon transport is being further developed, taking account of the operating cost support provided for in the 2023 Federal budget. In the medium and long term, the efficiency of the system will also increase with new technologies such as the digital automatic coupling.
  • Stabilization of production: Transport concepts are being planned to take greater account of capacity bottlenecks in order to ensure more stable production. The management of national and international transport is being improved. The processes for the implementation of transport services will be consistently reorganized to follow a departure-to-destination rationale that focuses on better quality, simpler and more efficient management systems. DB Cargo reached an important milestone in 2022, with the establishment of the control tower. Here, customers and their supply chains are supported by integrated sales and production teams from a single source. In addition, DB Cargo will make capital expenditures in modern multisystem locomotives and new car technologies. Digitalization and automation will aid DB Cargo in offering its customers easier access to the rail system and more transparency about the shipment status, and will significantly speed up the processes in rail transport, i.e. train formation, car handling and maintenance.
  • Expansion of European corridors: DB Cargo is established throughout Europe and is represented on the 13 major transport corridors. Along these corridors, DB Cargo is accelerating the development of quality and growth. Success factors include a high transport frequency with coordinated schedules, faster cross-border transport with multilingual train drivers, and fundamentally close cross-­national cooperation.

Thanks to modern transport equipment that precisely meets market and customer requirements, DB Cargo is able to integrate itself deep into customers’ logistics chains. DB Cargo is therefore advancing the development of its freight cars intensively. For example (in addition to freight cars and super­structures), loading and unloading facilities as well as handling technologies are designed and implemented together with customers. DB Cargo relies both on its own equipment developments and on cooperations with strategic partners.

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