We are finally returning to freedom in life and gaining momentum. As DB, we are a fundamental part of this: we enable people to travel and arrive, to go on adventures and relax – and above all to meet and be together. Train by train, the momentum returns to life.
We can clearly see just how much people are looking for environmentally friendly mobility. Capacity utilization and booking numbers continue to increase. Also, our rail freight transport is growing. We have made good progress on the way to a strong rail system even during the Covid-19 pandemic: the fleet and infrastructure have grown significantly, and we have made rail travel even more attractive with new offers and services. DB Cargo and DB Schenker have consistently made a significant contribution to the functioning of the economy.
Our goal is greater capacity, higher quality and better service for our customers. Almost 2,000 kilometers of track will be renewed this year alone – never before has so much money been invested in our network. Despite extensive construction work, 79.5 percent of all long-distance trains were on time in the first half of 2021. Last but not least, it is the DB team, which does everything with heart and commitment to ensure that our guests on board feel safe and comfortable. I am pleased that, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, we are continuing to recruit personnel at record levels and offer our employees a secure job.
That we are on the right track is confirmed by a high level of customer satisfaction, strong public awareness of the DB brand and top placements in employer rankings. The fact that we were a reliable partner even during the months of the crisis is paying off.
Part of this reliability includes continuing to make massive investments in the future. We therefore stuck to our expansion plan even during the Covid-19 pandemic. Together with our owner, we are mastering this financial tour de force and want to return to our profitable growth course as quickly as possible. We want to be back in the black as early as next year.
However, this can only be achieved if we also live by the spirit of solidarity within DB Group, as we have already demonstrated with the Alliance for Our Railway. The way forward requires unity and stability – this is the only way to make rail strong.
In addition, the external conditions remain challenging. The devastating floods have once again made us aware of the serious consequences of climate change. It will take years to remedy the material damage. However, personal losses are immeasurable and cannot be compensated for.
The Covid-19 pandemic is also still with us and poses a constant challenge. Variants of the virus and further waves of infection have postponed the upward trend expected for the start of the year to the second quarter. The further development of the pandemic remains uncertain.
More stable than ever, on the other hand, are our course and our conviction that we are needed – for society, for the economy, for Europe and, above all, for our climate. Environmentally friendly transport for current and future generations will not be possible without the rail mode of transport. We are also making our contribution by wanting to be completely climate-neutral by as early as 2040 – ten years earlier than previously planned. So we are already doing everything today for a tomorrow worth living.
I am convinced: we have learned a lot in the past year – about ourselves, about our limits, but also about what is possible if we all pull together. There has been much discussion about a more conscious, sustainable life – now it is time to implement this together. We at DB Group remain ready to do just that.
Dr. Richard Lutz
CEO and Chairman of the Management Board
of Deutsche Bahn AG