DB charging customers to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine
Sending humanitarian aid from Germany to Ukraine via rail with Deutsche Bahn (DB) is no longer free of charge as of 1 January 2023. In other words, anyone who wants to send aid to Ukraine this way will have to cover the 6,000 euros fee per container moved from their own pockets. This was mentioned by German media Der Spiegel, which claimed to have gotten the information from sources in the DB’s circles.
Despite not being officially confirmed, there are some signs pointing to the fact that this service was indeed stopped. For example, DB’s press release from 7 March 2022 announcing the creation of a humanitarian rail corridor between Germany and Ukraine is no longer available on their website. RailFreight.com contacted DB, DB Cargo, and the German ministry of transport about this but no answer was provided as of yet.
According to Der Spiegel, The reason behind the interruption of this initiative is a quarrel between DB and the German ministry of transport over who is responsible for funding it. DB claims to have already spent five million euros to finance the transportation of humanitarian aid from Germany to Ukraine. The German media mentioned that, since DB is a public company, its donations are limited to a certain extent for legal reasons.
DB’s efforts so far
Already at the beginning of March, DB Cargo and DB Schenker combined their rail and truck services to transport aid supplies directly from Germany to Ukraine. One of DB’s projects to help Ukraine was the Grain Bridge. With this initiative, DB started transporting grain that was blocked in Ukrainian ports to Germany in the ports of Rostock, Hamburg, and Brake.