15 Aug 2022, 14:13
Hannah Naylor

Oil, gas and coal transports to get priority on German rails

dpa / ARD

Germany's economy and transport ministries are working on a regulation to give trains transporting coal, mineral oil and gas priority over passenger trains, as the country is tackling the current energy crisis, reports public broadcaster ARD. A draft regulation, seen by news agency dpa, states that sufficient supplies to coal-fired power plants and refineries must be ensured through these prioritisations of the rail. The decision is expected to cause further delays for passenger trains, including regional and long-distance trains. Train tracks are already largely overloaded, said transport minister Volker Wissing. The NGO Pro-Rail Alliance has also raised concerns about this projected increase in congestion and delays for passengers, ARD writes.

At the end of July it was reported rail capacities were struggling to keep up with the surge in demand for fuels such as coal, which grow more important in the event of gas shortages. Even if gas storages reach 90 percent capacity, Germany will still likely face shortages, requiring alternative sources of energy to be ready. However, transport is a key bottleneck. For instance, low river levels across Germany, including on the Rhine, are threatening the supply of shipped materials such as coal.

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