Ladies and gentlemen,
Why do we exist as Deutsche Bahn? What is our objective? What do we stand for? These are all questions which we have intensively focused on in the recent past.
Our response is strong and clear: our innermost concern is that Germany should have a strong rail system. This is what guides us, and this is what we will focus on with our new Strong Rail umbrella strategy. It is our compass for our path into the future. And we will propel Germany forward.
This has become particularly clear, specifically in relation to climate concerns: Germany will only be able to reach its climate targets with the help of a strong rail system. As Deutsche Bahn, we are Germany’s biggest climate protector. And so we are setting for ourselves new, even more ambitious environmental targets: by no later than 2038, we plan to get our traction current fully from renewable energy. Our previous target for this was the year 2050.
But at the same time, it must be clear that all participants must make a huge effort to turn powerful rail into reality. We have a clear focus in this regard: we will put all our efforts into the expansion of our core business.
This means, for example, that we will double long-distance passenger numbers to 260 million, with new, faster and more frequent connections on numerous routes. We are planning to expand network capacity by 30 percent in close cooperation with the Federal Government, among other things by implementing Digital Rail for Germany, accelerating new construction and expansion and improving capacity management. After all, sufficient capacity in infrastructure is the key to growth, a shift in transport modes and good operational quality. More rail traffic will also require more employees and their tireless daily dedication. To achieve this, we are planning to hire 100,000 new employees in the next few years.
With this objective, we are continuing many projects under the Strong Rail umbrella that we had already initiated with the Agenda for a Better Railway. The first half of 2019 has shown that we are on a successful path here.
The trend of relocating more traffic to rail, for example, has continued. We see this, among other things, in the increased number of train-path kilometers. This is a noteworthy achievement, particularly in view of the active construction activities in our infrastructure.
We are planning to continue modernizing and expanding our long-distance fleet. From the Spanish manufacturer Talgo, for example, we have purchased new vehicles for cross-border transport. And we are providing better service on our existing fleet with our expanded comfort check-in and the gradual expansion of free WiFi, even on Intercity trains.
And, last but not least, we are also working hard on making our service offering viable in our freight transport and logistics divisions. This includes equipping the entire DB Cargo freight car fleet with cutting edge telematics and sensors. DB Schenker has put the first autonomous electric truck worldwide, the T-Pod, on the road in collaboration with the Swedish start-up Einride.
We are pleased to report that our business continues to grow, and we will therefore continue to vigorously invest in the growth and the future of rail. These increased future expenses are reflected in our capital expenditure lines and the current profit developments.
More robust, more powerful and more modern – this is the type of Deutsche Bahn that we are striving to become with our Strong Rail strategy. This is a monster of a project, and, yes, we are only just starting. But we are fully committed to this goal which will guide us into the year 2030 and beyond. With a Strong Rail. With it we will make a substantial contribution for a positive future for our country.
Dr. Richard Lutz
CEO and Chairman of the Management Board
of Deutsche Bahn AG