German national railway registers new passenger record in 2019

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BERLIN, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Germany's national railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) set a new passenger record for long-distance traveling and exceeding the 150 million mark for the first time in 2019, the company announced on Thursday.

"We are seeing clear signs of a modal shift towards rail, an environmentally friendly mode of transport," commented Richard Lutz, chief executive officer (CEO) of DB.

Following an "already strong previous year," an additional 2.8 million passengers used DB's trains for long-distance journeys in 2019, up by 1.9 percent to 151 million passengers.

According to DB, regional rail usage in Germany rose by 1.6 percent and climbed to almost 2 billion passengers in 2019.

Adjusted revenues of DB increased to 44.4 billion euros (48.7 billion U.S. dollars). DB announced that as a result of the largest investment program in the company's history, adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell by 13 percent year-on-year to 1.8 billion euros.

"DB's aim is to substantially increase the performance of rail in Germany," said Lutz, adding that "investment in the future of rail will take priority in the coming years, which will be visible in our bottom line in the medium term."

Transport volume of DB's subsidiary DB Cargo fell by 3.7 percent year-on-year because of declining demand in "cyclical sectors such as steel and automotive." DB noted that "sustained growth" in rail freight transport would likely "still take some time despite all efforts."

"Our task is to continue to ensure DB's financial stability despite a very high level of investment and additional challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic," commented Levin Holle, chief financial officer of DB.

According to DB, it would be still unclear "what exactly the negative economic impact of the global coronavirus crisis will be." Enditem

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