DB Cargo container train, source: DB Cargo

German state support DB is ‘unfair competition’

Private railway undertakings have lodged a complaint against the German state. They disagree with the eleven billion euros fund to Deutsche Bahn that the government wants to invest until 2030 to raise up the ailing railway firm. This is disguised state support, they state.

The organisations, inclusing Netzwerk Europäischer Eisenbahnen (NO) and the association for private passenger transport by rail Mofair, are taking their complaint to the European Commission. NO and Mofair welcome extra money for investments in railways, but they fear that Deutsche Bahn will mainly use the money to strengthen its own business.

Unfair competition

The German traffic minister, Andreas Scheuer, had promised the state-owned company DB to allocate the extra resources, because DB itself can no longer fully finance investments that are necessary from the current operation in, for example, rail infrastructure and electrification. Scheuer also noted that the DB top quickly came up with a plan to make the group healthy again and to put an end to the heavy losses suffered by DB Cargo, the freight division, among others.

However, NO and Mofair foresee unfair competition if the promised eleven billion euros of state money are made freely available to the state group. The billions from Berlin should be placed in a fund that can only be used to improve rail infrastructure. An alternative could also be an extension of the existing “performance and financing agreement” that the state has concluded with DB.

Disagree

Deutsche Bahn does not agree with the objections of the two organisations, to which private providers of rail passenger and freight transport in Germany are connected. According to DB, all resources are spent purely on the objectives agreed with the state.

Author: Folkert Nicolai

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