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Volker Wissing wants to give preference to coal wagons in the energy crisis


In order to secure the supply even when the water levels are low, Transport Minister Wissing wants to give preference to coal transport by rail in case of doubt. Passenger trains would then have to wait.

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Coal wagon in the port of Hamburg: »Without a stable energy supply, no passenger train will run«

Photo: Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images

Deutsche Bahn is already being delayed more often than it has been in years - and if Transport Minister Volker Wissing has his way, passengers on trains may have to be even more patient.

At least if priority is given to transporting energy by rail.

"If it should happen that we have to activate the prioritization of coal transports, then it can happen that a passenger train has to wait at the end, because the supply of the power plants has progressed," said the FDP politician in the ARD "Morgenmagazin". «.

»We are now very dependent on rail«

"In fact, personnel transport is dependent on a stable energy supply," said Wissing.

"Without a stable energy supply, no passenger train can run, it also needs electricity, and that's why it is also in the interest of long-distance passenger transport on the railways that the power plants are supplied with energy."

An ordinance drawn up by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Transport provides that the transport of mineral oil, gas, coal and transformers should temporarily be given priority in rail transport.

This is intended to secure the energy supply in Germany despite the lack of gas supplies from Russia. Only a few days ago, a hard coal-fired power plant in Lower Saxony, which had actually been shut down, resumed operation.

The situation is exacerbated by the very low water levels on the rivers due to the drought – and the shipping traffic that is affected as a result.

In the case of individual groups of goods, such as coal, crude oil and natural gas in particular, inland shipping accounts for 10 to 30 percent of the transport volume.

There is a risk of container traffic jams in the Rhine ports

With a view to the low water in the Rhine, Wissing said in the RTL/ntv program "Frühstart": "Climate change has reached us in full." With the low water levels, the inland waterway largely fails, "that hits us hard".

Even if drought and low water levels will continue in the future, he does not see inland waterway transport on the verge of extinction: "We have to react to this and further expand the inland waterways." Currently, other means of transport have to be used.

»We are now very dependent on rail.

It now has to provide additional capacities.«

At the same time, containers are already threatening to back up in the Rhine ports.

"There are still a few ships with a shallow draft," said Marco Speksnijder, manager at Contargo Rhein-Neckar in the port of Ludwigshafen/Mannheim.

However, the ships could take on significantly less cargo than usual – ships currently carry around 20 to 30 containers instead of 150 to 200.

"The terminals of the ports are already about 85 percent full, but that is also due to the consequences of the Ukraine war and the closure of the port of Shanghai," said Speksnijder.

»As of now, we are still able to act until the middle of next week, when we would have reached 100 percent occupancy.

We're hoping for some water to come soon so we can ride something.«

Logistics manager: "Shipping largely stopped"

Meanwhile, the water level on the Lower Rhine near Emmerich has fallen below zero.

When measuring on Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., the record low of minus two centimeters was measured, as the Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) announced.

In Emmerich, near the Netherlands, a water level of zero centimeters was measured for the first time on Tuesday, undercutting the old record low from October 2018.

"We have now largely stopped shipping - with the emphasis on largely," said Cok Vinke, Manager at Contargo Waterway Logistics.

Despite the low water level, some ships are still able to navigate the important Kaub section between Mainz and Koblenz.

“Of course, these ships can't carry tons of cargo anymore.

But as long as we can, shipping will still carry cargo."


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-08-17

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