Berlin, 12. April 2018 - The German Railway Industry Association (VDB) e.V. takes stock: In 2017 the German railway industry achieved a high turnover amounting to 11 billion euros. There was an increase of the domestic sales with a volume of 6.3 billion euros. Domestic business thus grew by 10.5 percent compared to the previous year. The number of employees in the industry also rose slightly by 1.2 percent to 51,100. The export of the German railway industry decreased in 2017 from 6.1 in 2016 to 4.7 billion euros. The globally growing trend towards market foreclosure left its mark there. Nevertheless, the German railway industry maintained its leading position in global orders received. Political successes such as the free trade agreement between the EU and Japan concluded in 2017 is also beginning to bear fruit. The orders received from abroad rose to 5.5 billion euros in 2017 – an increase of 22.2 percent. Domestic orders generated 7.6 billion euros, 8.6 percent more than in the previous year. Altogether, the orders received went up by 13.9 percent to a total volume of 13.1 billion euros. "The industry wants to continue this positive trend with an innovation strategy in order to maintain its leading position on the world market in the future", said Volker Schenk, President of the German Railway Industry Association, in Berlin on the occasion of the annual press conference of the industry.
“Coalition agreement to be implemented consistently”
“The railway industry is in top form. We deliver solutions for sustainable mobility worldwide. Climate protection, clean air in the megacities, more customer quality – innovation is the key", stated the VDB President. “And therefore, we need a political tailwind now. The coalition agreement can become a great success for the railway. The compass is right. Now it is a matter of rapid implementation. Digitizing infrastructure, using innovative vehicles, promoting research and development, implementing pilot projects for Rail 4.0 – that is what matters”, said Schenk. The industry supports the coalition's ‘rail pact’, which aims to double the number of rail passengers in the country by 2030 and significantly expand rail freight traffic. The industry is aware of its responsibility. We want to and can make our contribution. We offer our support to politicians and operators in order to implement the coalition agreement step by step”, explained the VDB President.
Schenk also warned against the worldwide tendencies towards protectionism. The accessible world market for the railway industry is shrinking for manufacturers from Germany. “We must not turn a blind eye to the massively increasing global distortion of competition.” Therefore, the railway industry in Germany demands ‘open markets, fair competitive conditions and priority for innovation’.
“Principle of cheapest supplier to be abolished”
Ben Möbius, Chief Executive Officer of the VDB, specified the ideas of the railway industry on promoting innovation: “The rail research programme must start quickly to strengthen Rail 4.0 made in Germany.” Research focuses among others on the energy efficiency, electromobility, digital maintenance, 3D printing and more effective noise protection. Autonomous driving alone reduces energy consumption by around 30 percent. At the same time, it is crucial that innovations in Germany enter the market more quickly. “It is a question of tomorrow’s climate-friendly mobility, an even better customer experience, fast, punctual trains with exciting design, and it is also about reference projects for the export”, said Möbius. “Where only cheap public contracts count, development is slowed down. The cheapest-supplier principle is not suitable for the 21st century.” Mobility of the future needs awards that consistently reward innovative best suppliers and pioneering spirit. “Who provides the best ideas for digital vehicle technology and energy efficiency? Who the best price-performance ratio? And who offers really the best price over the entire life cycle? Awards must weigh criteria in such a way that the best solutions are identified and implemented to achieve customer quality and climate protection.