DB Cargo’s loss more than doubled in 2020

Güterzug im Mittelrheintal mit zwei E-Loks Baureihe 185 (Erzzug Rotterdam - Linz) bei Oberwesel (linke Rheinstrecke)

Rail freight operator DB Cargo was hit hard by the corona crisis in 2020. The company saw its losses more than double. With an increase of 136 per cent, the figures went down to minus 728 million euros, compared to 308 million euros in 2019. These figures were presented by mother concern Deutsche Bahn on Thursday 25 March.

Sales of the freight division fell by 7.4 per cent and amounted to 4.199 billion euros in 2020, after 4.449 billion euros in the previous year. DB Cargo’s cargo volumes shrank by 8.1 per cent. The company shipped 213.1 million tonnes of goods, compared to 232 million tonnes a year earlier. This indicates a decline of 8.1 per cent. Traffic performance declined by 7.5 percent to 78.67 billion tonne-kilometers Europe-wide.

For the last 10 years

DB Cargo has been writing red figures for the last ten years. However, the corona crisis has worsened the losses. Especially a decline in demand for bulk goods and heavy goods such as coal, ores and steel worsened the situation, as it is one of the main cargo types the operator moves.

Sigrid Nikuta, CEO of DB Cargo, said earlier that she expects the volumes to return to pre-corona levels this year, provided that most people are vaccinated. In 2031 this must have increased by 100 per cent, she said to media source The Pioneer in February.

However, according to media site Verkehrs Rundschau, Deutsche Bahn has adjusted the goals for DB Cargo, as can be seen from the documents for the presentation of the balance sheet. “If, according to the “Strong Rail” strategy, 78 billion tonne-kilometers were originally to be achieved in Germany by 2025, it will now only be 68 billion tonne-kilometers by 2024. In 2020, DB Cargo drove 56.2 billion tonne-kilometers in Germany”, the site notes.

DB Schenker

The forwarding division of Deutsche Bahn, DB Schenker, performed surprisingly well in 2020. Despite the corona crisis, it ended with a profit of 711 million euros, an increase of 32.3 per cent compared to 2019. This is its best operating result in history.

As a whole, Deutsche Bahn saw its sales drop by 10.2 per cent from 44.3 billion euros (2019) to 39.9 billion euros. While the adjusted EBIT in 2019 was still a positive 1.837 billion euros, this figure was minus 2.903 billion in 2020.

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Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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