Collusion of rail carriers. Deutsche Bahn will pay a fine of 48 million euros

According to the European Commission report, German railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) will pay more than 48 million euros in fines for its participation in collusion with carriers from Austria and Belgium, related to the transportation of goods across borders.

The purpose of the cartel – as revealed by the commission’s investigation – set up by the German (DB), Belgian (SNCB) and Austrian Railways (OeBB), was to exchange information on customer inquiries. Three companies coordinated responses to protect their interests.

Rail transport of goods is essential to a sustainable economy model. Fair competition is important to ensure that customers get the best deal when using sustainable transportation. The cartel among the major operators providing rail freight services on major railway corridors across the European Union is generally at odds with this goal. European Commission Vice President Margaret Westager said today’s decision is a clear indication that this kind of collusion is unacceptable.

The practice relates to so-called interlocking trains, that is, to allow a greater amount of cargo to be transported from the transmitting station to the receiving station, without the need to change the train layout and without intermediate stations on the road

This type of transport is usually chosen by large customers who often carry the same type of cargo between fixed locations for extended periods – for example between the ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg, and refineries and chemical plants in Germany and Austria.

The companies participating in the cartel agreed to a settlement with the European Commission. As a result, the fines were reduced: the DB will pay 48.3 million euros, SNCB – 270 thousand euros. Euro, and OeBB will avoid monetary penalty altogether.

Artur Cechanovic from Brussels

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