Business units in the Integrated Rail System
Development in the relevant markets
The developments described below are based on available data, which sometimes has different time horizons, since full information about market developments in the first half of 2022 was not available at the time this report was prepared.
German passenger transport market
- The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic were also noticeable in the first quarter of 2022 as a result of the Omicron variant. However, there were signs of a significant recovery in the further course of the year. However, the ramp-up of demand varied greatly across the individual market segments of German passenger transport.
- In the first half of 2022, motorized private transport gradually approached pre-Covid-19 levels again. The increase in fuel prices due to the new CO₂ pricing and the war in Ukraine initially remained of minor significance.
- Domestic air transport recovered in early 2022, but remained well below the pre-Covid-19 level. The gradual recovery in the middle of the year with very high growth rates is the result of a very weak base in the previous year.
Rail passenger transport
- In the first quarter of 2022, rail passenger transport showed significant growth in volume sold (+84%) compared with the same period in the previous year, although strict Covid-19-related travel restrictions were still in place in the first quarter of 2021. DB Group volume sold increased by 91% compared with the same quarter of the previous year.
- The rapid increase in demand in the second quarter of 2022 and the continuing restrictions to prevent a rapid rise in infections in the previous year have resulted in strong growth year-on-year. In the second quarter of 2022, volume sold in DB Group rail passenger transport increased by approximately 124% compared with the same period in the previous year.
- Regional rail passenger transport increased in the first quarter of 2022 (+55%) despite continued effects from people working from home and a corresponding reduction in business trips and commuter journeys. DB Regional saw a similar increase in performance (+57%) in the first quarter of 2022. Comparing the second quarters, DB Regional achieved growth of 103%, due in part to the introduction of the 9-Euro-Ticket.
- Long-distance rail passenger transport also significantly exceeded the level of the first quarter of 2021 in the first quarter of 2022 (+136% for the sector as a whole; +132% for DB Long-Distance).
- In comparison with the second quarters of 2021 and 2022, there was a strong increase in volume sold of 144% for DB Long-Distance.
- FlixTrain expanded its network and services in the first half of 2022. The company aims to serve a total of 70 stations by the summer.
Public road passenger transport
- In the first quarter of 2022, public road passenger transport recorded noticeable gains in volume sold (+26%) in scheduled transport.
- In regional bus transport, growth in the first quarter of 2022 was somewhat more moderate due to the publicly ordered and largely continued basic services in the first quarter of 2021. DB Regional Bus recorded an increase in performance (+31%) in the first quarter of 2022 and was also able to improve in the second quarter by +16% compared to the same period in the previous year.
- Long-distance bus services had almost completely ceased operations between the beginning of the year and May 2021. Market leader FlixBus resumed its services with a limited network in the first half of 2022, but remained below the pre-Covid-19 level.
German freight transport market
After a strong start to the year across all modes of transport in the first two months of 2022, there was a noticeable slowdown in demand in March, which continued at the beginning of the second quarter. This market situation reflects both the baseline effect on performance in the corresponding months of the previous year, where recovery after the impact of Covid-19 started in March, and the current negative framework conditions. Overall, a significant slowdown in growth is expected for the second quarter of 2022.
The consequences of the strict Covid-19 measures with further shutdowns in China continue to have an impact on transport capacities in Germany and Europe due to disruptions at the seaports. In addition, there are significant changes in flows of transport as a result of the war in Ukraine. Production shutdowns in Ukraine resulted in a market environment with high uncertainty for industry and transport companies, which was burdened by material scarcity, disrupted supply chains and sharp cost increases.
Over the further course of the year, the activities of the German government to reduce dependence on Russian oil and gas supplies will have a significant impact on the transport market. At present, there are already noticeable effects on coal transport and mineral oil transport.
In addition to these challenges, the massive rise in energy and fuel costs across all modes of transport represents a growing burden.
Rail freight transport
According to previous publications by the Federal Statistical Office, volume sold in rail freight transport increased by 2.2% up to April 2022 compared with the same period in the previous year. After a dynamic start to the year with growth of 6.5%, there has been a noticeable slowdown since March. Growth was supported, above all, by an increase in performance in the coal, stone/earth, mineral oil products and combined transport sectors. There was a decline primarily in demand for transport from the automotive industry, which is mainly due to the persistently challenging resource situation for semiconductors. In the months of March and April 2022, there were also difficulties in the supply of cable harnesses as a result of the war in Ukraine. Steel transports also performed rather weakly due to the drop in production in the automotive industry.
Since March 2022, the consequences of the war in Ukraine on flows of transport in rail freight transport have been visible. Direct traffic from/to Russia has been suspended, and container transport (transit) on the trans-Eurasian corridor is in line with the applicable sanctions. There were no significant shifts in terms of market share.
Road freight transport
After a dynamic start to the year, truck transport has seen a significant slowdown in almost all key sectors since March 2022. This applies to both national and cross-border transport services. This is compounded by the sharp rise in the cost of fuel, staff and vehicles, among other things. These added costs can only be partially passed on to customers through prices, and are a severe burden on the economic situation. The issue of driver shortages continues to be an acute issue and has been exacerbated once again. This means that demand has slowed down, while the supply of shipping space has become even scarcer.
- According to our own calculations, there was moderate growth in volume sold of about 1.5% up to May 2022.
- A similar development is reflected in the toll statistics of the Federal Agency for Freight Transport. On the toll road network, volume sold up to May barely increased compared with the same period in the previous year at 1.4%. At +3.3%, the vehicles registered abroad continued to develop at an above-average rate compared with trucks from Germany, which remained at the previous year’s level.
Inland waterway transport
After a very weak start in 2020 and 2021, volume sold in inland waterway transport increased by 2.1% in the first quarter of 2022. A positive development, in particular in coal transport and mixed cargo/containers, was offset by significant declines in the transport of agricultural and chemical products, as well as in the area of ores, stone and earth.
European rail freight transport market
Volume sold in European rail freight transport (EU 27, Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom) continued to develop positively in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the same period in the previous year, with growth of 3%. Development at the beginning of the year was supported by the continued recovery of industrial production and trade as well as the baseline effects from the first quarter of 2021, which was still dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Developments in subsequent months were negatively affected, primarily by rising energy prices due to the war in Ukraine and the ongoing supply chain problems, with the result that a slowdown in growth is also expected for the European rail freight transport market in the second quarter of 2022.
- Volume sold for rail freight transport in the United Kingdom increased by about 4% in the first quarter of 2022. Since June, however, there has been a significant decline. Construction materials and intermodal transport, among other things, developed negatively. There were also declines in metal transports. At DB Cargo UK, volume sold fell by about 7% in the first half of 2022.
- In Poland, volume sold in rail freight transport had increased by about 14% by May 2022 compared with the same period in the previous year. The reason for this is the continued economic revival of Polish industry and the change in flows of transport as a result of the war in Ukraine. Demand for transport increased, particularly in industrial sectors, which are of central importance for rail freight transport, i.e. in the areas of coal, construction materials, mineral oil products, coke and metal products. Combined transport, which has been growing rapidly in recent years, has stagnated. DB Cargo Polska grew above the market average.
- In France, volume sold for the rail freight transport market rose by about 6% in the first quarter of 2022. The economic recovery helped stabilize the situation. A positive development in volume sold was also seen at DB Cargo France.