Date: 15th August 2022
The German government will prioritise the rail transportation of cargo essential for energy production. The measure is going to be in place for six months. Germany’s government cabinet yet has to approve the provisional legislation, the draft said.
The Federal Ministry of Economics and the Federal Ministry of Transport drafted a legal ordinance to face the energy crisis that hit the country. Products such as mineral oil, gas, coal, and transformers will be given rail priority. The legal decision finds legitimisation in the Energy Security Act, published last April, which gives the government the option to act quickly in case of emergency.
The government’s plan is to condition rail traffic as little as possible, trying to avoid affecting passengers’ transportation. However, the German Minister of Transport, highlighted that several German rail routes are already overloaded and congested.
DB Netz, the rail network arm of railway operator Deutsche Bahn, has already started the process of prioritising energy transport. One of the issues pointed out by the ministries is that, because of the need for more capacity, it may become necessary to use wagons that do not meet noise protection standards.
Germany’s energy crisis
The energy crisis in Germany has been caused by two main factors. First, is the shortage of energy supplies from Russia. The shortage of Russian supply forced Germany to rely more on coal to produce energy. Already two weeks ago, discussions on the possible prioritisation of coal rail transportation were reported.
Moreover, the Rhine river has been registering quite low water levels, making it impossible for bigger freight ships to go through. Alternative modes of transportation are therefore necessary for Germany to keep up with its energy supply, especially with the colder seasons approaching.