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Deutsche Bahn's Strategic Shift: Selling DB Schenker and Introducing InfraGo

Deutsche Bahn's Strategic Shift: Selling DB Schenker and Introducing InfraGo
foto: DB Schenker, RAILTARGET Archive/Deutsche Bahn's Strategic Shift: Selling DB Schenker and Introducing InfraGo
03 / 10 / 2023

The Deutsche Bahn Group, in a significant strategic move, has conveyed to its Supervisory Board the intent to offload its rail logistics subsidiary, DB Schenker. Following extensive evaluations, this divestiture emerged as the optimal decision, conditioned on securing a lucrative purchase offer.

However, according to DVZ, the journey to finalization promises to be unhurried. Any potential transaction, apart from requiring a nod from the board post evaluation of concrete offers, must also pass the muster of competition law and gain other regulatory blessings.

Meanwhile, in response to mounting concerns over punctuality and network upkeep, the Supervisory Board is orchestrating a broader infrastructural transformation. Come January, the baton for network operations and its various facets, currently with DB Netz, will pass to a newly christened entity, InfraGo. Historically, DB Netz's dual role - part of Deutsche Bahn Group and a competitor on the railways - has been a bone of contention for other rail competitors, not to mention its struggles with maintaining the network's integrity. InfraGo, while remaining under Deutsche Bahn’s umbrella, will be steered with enhanced oversight from the German government. This restructuring aims to meld profitability with public welfare. Furthermore, it's noteworthy that InfraGo’s remits will be funnelled back to the government for direct rail reinvestment, showcasing a strong intent for infrastructural rejuvenation.

Nevertheless, many critics, including Ulrich Lange, deputy CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader for transport, have articulated their reservations, casting shadows of doubt over the sufficiency of these reforms. Advocacy groups like the Pro-Rail Alliance, represented by managing director Dirk Flege, further underscore the urgency for clarity on who holds the reins of InfraGo and the guiding metrics for its operation. On the horizon is the challenging task for InfraGo: a comprehensive revamp of key rail corridors, with an eye on modernizing around 40 lines by 2030. A venture of this magnitude brings along not just optimism but also demands steadfast oversight and, importantly, transparent communication with all stakeholders.