Germany’s freight transport infrastructure is beginning to be affected by the country’s economic and energy crisis, with the transport ministry giving Deutsche Bahn freight trains priority over passenger services.

Industry analyst Transport Intelligence (Ti) reported that the ministry issued a statement on August 24 explaining that “in order to secure the energy supply, energy transport should temporarily have priority on rail”.

The aim is to ensure the operation of power plants, refineries and power grids.

Transport minister Volker Wissing added that low water levels on the River Rhine meant that “inland shipping can only transport reduced loads and the important railway lines are already overloaded in some cases, or at least heavily used, even without additional energy transport”.

This seems to suggest that the network is struggling to cope with the consignments that have been moved from Rhine barges onto rail. Water levels have recovered on the Rhine over the past few days, so this might offer some relief. However, the impact on Deutsche Bahn has been immediately noticeable with reports of delays to passenger services.