DB Schenker’s freight services have been disrupted for the second time in a month as drivers affiliated with the German Train Drivers Union (GDL) took strike action across the country. The latest strike, which began on at 15.00 on 5 November, was due to run for four days. However, the action was called off on Saturday at 18.00. Neverthesless, the rail provider was forced to halve the number of scheduled services over that time. The company operates around 5,000 trains on a daily basis. Normal services are expected to be resumed by tomorrow.

A German court dismissed an attempt by the company to halt the strike last week, judging that it did not violate German law and was not out of proportion.

In a last minute statement issued last week DB Schenker Rail said that it was trying to reduce the impact on customers as much as possible. The rail provider established a crisis team at its European control centre in Frankfurt am Main with the aim of ensuring that at least half of the scheduled rail freight was moved despite the widespread strike action.

A statement from parent company Deutsche Bahn referred to GDL’s “bullyboy tactics” which sought to paralyse public life on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was commemorated last weekend.

Ulrich Weber, member of the DB Management Board for Human Resources, called for an end to the strike last week and for the GDL to return to the negotiating table.

Carmakers maintain production
As with the last action, which took place between 17-21 October, the main German carmakers were unfazed by the action.

Speaking last week at the commencement of the action a spokesperson for VW said the company was observing the development of the strike.

“Currently there are no implications for our production,” she said. “Our goal is to maintain production at all our sites.”

BMW also said that it remained unaffected by the renewed strike action and assumed that the situation would stabilize over the next few days. A spokesperson told Automotive Logistics that rail played a minor role in inbound logistics compared to other transport modes and that Deutsche Bahn had guaranteed that smooth transport flow would continue on the outbound side.

“Currently, every working day around 11 to 12 block trains with BMW Group cars leave our German plants,” said the spokesperson. “On each train there are 200 to 220 cars (depending on the model/type/size of the cars).”

Around 60% of BMW’s outbound traffic moves by rail, while the remaining 40% moves by road.

The GDL has not announced any further action as yet.