2017 Integrated Report – Departure into a new era

Markets and strategy

DB Cargo operates a close-knit international network and is active in 17 European countries. This unparalleled network is the foundation for building on DB Cargo’s leading position in the European rail freight transport market. The market is undergoing structural transformation, facing market participants with challenges, but also providing opportunities. Changed customer expectations and technical possibilities are producing trends that will shape the logistics market in the future, including digital supply chains and business models, automation and autonomous driving.

As a leading European transport services provider, we intend to take advantage of the opportunities offered to us by new technologies to make DB Cargo fit for the future. The digital transformation of DB Cargo is driving this technological change with the aim of offering customers competitive transport and logistics services and providing these services efficiently with high quality. Equipping the freight car fleet with telematics and sensor systems as well as developing smart, modern locomotives offers the requirements to optimize and digitalize processes in distribution, operation and maintenance. Online platforms give our customers direct access to our services. An online solution is already available in the form of the innovative digitalization platform myRailportal for transmitting specific transport and logistics orders, transport information and billing statements.

DB Cargo is also working toward greater automation of the business, so that even complex tasks all along the value-added chain can be handled faster, at a much lower cost and with much higher quality. In this context, efficient and reliable rail transport through (partially) automated and interoperable driving is planned. Through the automation of marshaling yards and the use of automatic coupling systems, greater performance capacity and productivity is achieved.

To enable DB Cargo to fully exploit the potential of the master plan for rail freight transport and improve quality, the Rail Freight Transport Initiative 2030 has been launched. In the next five years, we intend to make about € 1 billion in additional capital expenditures in new locomotives, modern, innovative freight cars and digitalization of the fleet.

  • Economic dimension: Our mission is to be a profitable quality leader with a strong European network in rail freight transport. Our activity is centered around fulfilling our promise to customers. To achieve this, the reorientation of our business model is aimed at stabilizing production quality, increasing organizational efficiency and creating competitive cost structures. As part of Railway of the Future, we are realigning our core business processes and creating the basic foundations for efficiency and quality. The production system was simplified in the year under review through the reorganization of pro­duction structures. The goal is to improve production stability and cost structures in order to boost competitiveness long-term. To ensure a stable quality network, production images with closed, efficient locomotive and locomotive driver turnarounds were introduced for long-term, plannable transport services. For short-term transport services, orders will be accepted only after a successful check of all necessary resources, in order to guarantee high quality. Production structures were modi­­­­­fied so that a thoroughgoing accountability prevails in the completion of transports, and transport services are managed by a single source. The operational concepts for local transport have been optimized for full resource utilization. Sales is consistently aligned to customer needs and develops rail-based logistics solutions with customers. The European network portfolio is being systematically expanded to take advantage of growth potential on international corridors by using our European network. To improve unsatisfactory quality, DB Cargo has launched several short- and medium-term initiatives. OPEX is a Group-wide initiative centered on the structural improvement of operating processes. The pro­gram has set a goal of eliminating the causes of quality defects and inefficiencies on a structural level and securing the objectives defined in Railway of the Future, such as increasing punctuality, quality and vehicle availability. The targeted, gradual introduction of lean-­management approaches will be used to push productive workflows and efficient use of materials and resources.
  • Social dimension: Starting with the strategy DB2020+,our goal is to be the top employer across Europe. To this end, we will use the employee survey, for example, as a feedback instrument for assessing the measures we have initiated. We see the core of our European HR work as being in digitalization, demography and diversity. We want to impart skills to, and develop, our executives and employees through targeted measures. To give a permanent lift to our employee satisfaction, we are refining our feedback tools and communication and dialog platforms. In this way, we ensure that we are working to­­gether on the further development of DB Cargo and we prepare for trends in the logistics market.
  • Environmentaldimension: We want to reinforce rail freight transport as being an environmentally and climate-friendly means of transport and to provide a base from which to reduce greenhouse gases through transport shifts. We are developing sustainable transport solutions and modernizing our fleet for this purpose. By 2020, we aim to have fitted our entire active German fleet of freight cars with quiet brake shoes. We plan to develop the prototype of an innovative freight car in collaboration with VTG. By 2020, we want to have reduced our specific final energy consumption by 21% compared with 2006. New shunting locomotive are equipped with soot particulate filters and we are pushing the use of hybrid technology no. 44. We underscore our position as an eco-pioneer by providing eco-friendly offerings such as DB Eco plusno. 01 (CO₂-free) and DB eco neutral no. 32 (CO₂-neutral). In addition, we are identifying energy-saving potential through the green maintenance program.