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Annual review 2020 – Outlook for 2021

The past year was very dynamic and marked by changes. Since mid-March, Nico Petersen has joined us as the new Managing Director for Production, and since the beginning of June, Boris Dobberstein has been with us as the new Head of Sales. We have thus further strengthened our management team. Right from the start, they were confronted with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, which has demanded a lot from all of us and suddenly broken up structures we had assumed to be fixed. It has not only changed our society, but also our industry in the long term.

With passenger and freight transport an important pillar for maintaining basic services, the railway industry is without doubt systemically relevant, especially in the pandemic. We at DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung provide you, our customer, with the best possible support, even in times of crisis. This is because vehicle availability is a central component for growth on the railways. 

Ensuring the flow of materials 

Right at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, we took measures to secure spare parts stocks, allowing you to benefit from Group-wide procurement. To provide an overview of the material coverage, the supplier radar was introduced. Within this, all suppliers are continuously classified according to their supply risk. It enables us to list precisely which materials are in danger of running out and how long the stocks will last.

This not only shows which parts required for upcoming work are in stock, but also how many orders are pending and whether the respective suppliers are able to deliver. On this basis, procurement alternatives within the Group can be worked out and evaluated at an early stage together with Group Purchasing, DB Systemtechnik engineers and technicians and our 3D printing team. Here, communication with you is important in order to be able to react to changes in your requirements as quickly as possible. 

Support for the necessary downsizing of fleets

Unfortunately, the current situation mandates that transport companies downsize their fleets in some cases. All different types of trains from a wide variety of transport providers – from ICE and steam locomotives to trams – have been parked at the DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung storage sidings. On a total of 60 kilometres of track, up to 2,200 rail vehicles can be accommodated and are monitored around the clock. The vehicles can still be put back into operation quickly and easily if desired, however. Train parking is just one of the services offered by DB Resale & Services, a division of DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung.

Faster and more customer-friendly on-site service

Our decentralised service teams, formerly mobile service teams, repair your vehicle on site, for example at stabling sidings or stations. Whether freight train, coach or locomotive, you benefit from the reduction of work and downtimes as well as the elimination of costly vehicle transfers. All organisational, technical and logistical services are now coordinated from a single source instead of in the individual depots. This enables us to offer the decentralised service nationwide, to guarantee the shortest reaction times and travel distances, as well as the necessary expertise and the right qualification on site.

Award of several major contracts

In these difficult times, we are particularly pleased about the trust placed in us.

For example, we won an EU-wide contract award procedure from a regional local transport provider: from the end of 2020, 31 complete drive units will be reconditioned at the Bremen maintenance depot, which specialises in the maintenance and overhaul of diesel engines and drive systems.

We were also awarded other major contracts in 2020. In the freight wagon sector, for example, we will be providing an all-round service for a fleet of over 400 vehicles over the next 3 years.

Another regional and local transport provider is also relying on us for the brake inspection of its entire diesel fleet. For 45 two-part and 18 three-part vehicles, general inspections are performed after six years in operation including the extensive “BR 3” brake inspection. 

Our high performance in the market has thus been confirmed once again. 

In the future, we will operate the most state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly railway maintenance depot in Europe 

The Cottbus maintenance depot is our centre of expertise for diesel-hydraulic and diesel-electric rail vehicles, along with their components, and also specialises in conversions such as repowering or upgrades. There is a support for our depot both from policy-makers and from society: the most state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly railway maintenance depot in Europe is being built in Cottbus. By 2026, the location of the current maintenance depot will be home to numerous state-of-the-art facilities. An ICE maintenance shed is being planned for the heavy maintenance of electric multiple units (ICE 4). There will also be an area for converting diesel vehicles to hybrid trains. A new technology and administration centre for hybrid research is also planned. This expansion will create an additional 1,200 top-quality industrial jobs at the site. We will also expand our infrastructure in other depots and plot a course for the future together with our customers. 

While we are constantly looking ahead, we do not forget our history either: in 2021 our oldest maintenance depot in Neumunster will be 160 years old.


We will continue to invest in the future

By performing maintenance on vehicles and components, we at DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung are making a crucial contribution to managing the rapid growth in transport in a sustainable way – as maintenance means making the best possible use of current resources. Furthermore, we ensure production resources at all times, are working to further reduce our depot turnaround and throughput times in the future and improve our performance.

We are your strong partner in the maintenance of rail vehicles in the fields of overhaul, projects and accident repairs, as well as in the reconditioning of components. Through innovative concepts in full service and the expansion of the "Entity in Charge of Maintenance 1-4 competency" (ECM) we are aligning our services to the requirements of the future. As a strong team, we ensure a high availability of trains every day, because the rail industry needs strong vehicle maintenance. 

We want to say thank you!

We are grateful to be able to tackle and overcome challenges together. We would like to pass on these thanks by helping three charitable projects to overcome their challenges.

This year, we are therefore making a donation to the following causes: the "Bremer Engel", the "antonius Netzwerk Mensch" in Fulda and the "Hospiz Prignitz" in Wittenberge.

On behalf of the entire DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung team, I wish you happy holidays and a healthy, successful New Year! We hope to see you again in person soon. Stay safe.

Yours sincerely,

Gorden Falk