The freight transport business of Deutsche Bahn (DB) profited from the blockade of the Suez Canal from March 23rd to 29th by the “Ever Given”. “The Suez Canal blockade has shown how important it is to always have alternatives,” said DB Cargo boss Sigrid Nikutta.
The interest in transports by rail increased. “Of course we noticed that,” said Nikutta. “DB Cargo’s China business is booming like never before.”
However, this development began before the Suez Canal blockade. The number of DB Cargo’s trains is twice as many as last year.
The corona crisis also had positive consequences for DB Cargo. For example, when transporting protective equipment or masks, speed was decisive. “While a ship takes four to six weeks, a train will be there in twelve to fourteen days,” said Nikutta. That gave the whole thing a tremendous boost. That is why the demand has increased significantly in both directions.
During the corona crisis, rail has also proven itself as an alternative in European traffic, emphasizes Nikutta. The entry formalities and the corona tests have led to the kilometer-long traffic congestions at the borders. But DB Cargo didn’t have any traffic congestions, said Nikutta. 60 percent of all DB freight trains cross at least one border.
For Nikutta, this shows a system advantage of the railway. A freight train can replace up to 52 trucks. “That means a corona test and not 52.” DB Cargo also organized driver changes at the borders quickly if necessary. This is not possible with trucks. “This has meant that the supply chains on the railways were stable during the entire pandemic period.”