2016 was a record year for rail passenger transport in Germany
With an increase of 4%, rail companies in the German passenger transport sector saw the highest growth of any mode of transport. Rail's market share rose to 8.3%. "In a market that is growing overall, rail transport succeeded in taking market share from road transport," said Ronald Pofalla, Board Member for Infrastructure at Deutsche Bahn, today presenting the competition figures for 2016. "Now we need to make the turnaround work in freight transport as well. My task as the Board Member for Infrastructure is to shift more traffic to rail."
DB Long Distance played a major role in rail passenger transport growth. In 2016, Long Distance reached a new record, transporting 139 million passengers. Rail in Europe also saw solid passenger transport growth, benefitting from rising employment and incomes.
With train-path kilometers up 1.3% to 1.067 billion, DB also reached a record on its rail infrastructure. Rail providers competing with DB accounted for nearly one-third of the train-path kilometers. The number of rail companies on the German network rose once again – from 412 in 2015 to 421 last year. "We would love to see markets this conducive to competition everywhere in Europe," said Frank Miram, Director Economic, Political and Regulatory Affairs at DB. "Rail's opportunities for growth are best when markets are open and there is lively competition."
In freight transport, European rail companies are working on improving their capacity and competitiveness in order to shift more traffic to rail, an eco-friendly mode of transport. They continue to face difficult conditions which put them at a disadvantage compared with road transport. Rail freight transport volumes in Germany fell by 0.4% in 2016, and rail companies had a 17.6% market share in this market.
The German government's master plan for rail freight transport includes a major decrease in track access charges, which would play a key role in making rail more competitive.
Harmonization and control of social standards in rail and road transport in Europe are also expected to have a major effect. The European Commission's mobility package, which is intended to address and modify regulations for road transport, is currently being discussed in Brussels.