Engines of trade: the biggest rail companies by revenue

17 July 2016 (Last Updated February 6th, 2020 09:47)

Germany’s Deutsche Bahnan Russia’s Rossiiskie Zheleznye Dorogi OAO head the list of the world’s biggest railway companies, presiding over a staggering distance of track and enabling much of Eurasia, if not the world’s, overland trade. Railway-technology.com lists the world’s biggest railway companies based on 2015 revenues.

Engines of trade: the biggest rail companies by revenue

Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG) – $43.28bn

Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, Deutche Bahn AG (DB AG) is a state-owned mobility and logistics services provider. It offers both passenger rail and freight transportation services, and operates track infrastructure in Germany and globally through its subsidiaries. DB AG also provides bus and other intermodal transport services via sea and air.

The company’s core business is its railway in Germany, where it serves 5.5million passengers each day and transports around 596,000t of freight. It operates over 33,300km of modern rail network in the country, where 40,000 trains run per day. The company also serves 1.8million passengers a day in Germany through buses.

DB AG operates its businesses through four divisions: Passenger Transport, Transport and Logistics, Infrastructure, and Services.
The Passenger Transport unit serves 12million passengers each day through trains and buses across Europe.

“Deutsche Bahn generated sales of $43.287bn in 2015 compared to $43.367bn in 2014.”

The Transport and Logistics division renders freight transport, forwarding and ancillary services. It transports around 300Mt rail freight and 102million shipments through roads in Europe each day. Globally the division transports 1.1Mt of air freight and 1.9million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) of ocean freight.

The Infrastructure division oversees passenger stations, network, energy supply, marshalling yards and sidings, service and facility management, fleet management, IT management, security and vehicle maintenance areas. It also provides power supply services for train operators in Germany, and the division’s subsidiary DB ProjektBau GmbH provides planning and project management for the company’s affiliates including DB Netze Track, DB Netze Stations and DB Netze Energy.

Deutche Bahn’s major subsidiaries include Chiltern Railway Company, DB Regio Aktiengesellschaft, DB RegioNetz Verkehrs, DB ZugBus Regionalverkehr Alb-Bodensee, Autokraft, Busverkehr Rhein-Neckar, Omnibusverkehr Franken, Omnibusverkehr Rhein-Nahe, S-Bahn Hamburg, Schenker Akeri, Schenker Cargo Oy, Arriva, and DB Energie.

Deutsche Bahn generated sales of $43.287bn in 2015 compared to $43.367bn in 2014.

Rossiiskie Zheleznye Dorogi OAO – $27.19bn

Headquartered in Moscow, Russia, Rossiiskie Zheleznye Dorogi OAO (RZD) is a state-owned rail company which provides passenger and cargo transportation services in Russia and abroad.

RZD primarily renders freight, long-distance and suburban passenger services, locomotive propulsion services, maintenance for rolling stock as well as the construction of rail infrastructure facilities. It also engages in expanding international transport corridors for freight operators. The company operates offices in Asia, Europe and Russia along with its subsidiaries.

Rossiiskie Zheleznye Dorogi OAO’s operates its businesses through six divisions: RZD Cargo, Long-Distance Passenger, Auxiliary Operations, Subsidiaries Cargo, Logistics Services, and All Other.

The company’s core division, RZD Cargo, provides cargo transportation services globally, operates containers, and provides door-to-door delivery services in Russia and Eurasia. It transports bulk and liquid cargo, household appliances and electronics, coal, iron ore, cement, rolled metal products, cars, oil and related products, and food grains.

Through the Long-Distance Passenger division the company owns and operates 85,500km of rail tracks, high-speed trains, branded trains and premium class passenger trains in around 20 countries in Europe and Asia.

The Subsidiaries Cargo division provides cargo transportation services through RZD’s subsidiaries including JSC Federal Freight, OJSC Refservice and PJSC TransContainer. JSC Federal Freight transports ferrous metals, coal, fertilisers, and other construction material, and is one of the largest cargo rail operators in Russia.

The Auxiliary Operations unit’s activities centre on the maintenance and construction of rolling stock, and energy re-sale, while the Logistics Services division is runby Gefco Group.

The All Other division’s remit includes research and development, construction, telecommunications, modernising rail infrastructure, and supplying equipment and raw materials to customers.

East Japan Railway Company – $25.48bn

East Japan Railway Company (JR East) is a passenger railway company that owns and operates Shinkanse, a high-speed railway that links most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu and Hakodate in Hokkaido. The company also oversees Japan’s railway line between Kanto and Tohoku, while it offers retailing and restaurant services at train stations, runs hotels and leases space in shopping centres and office buildings.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan JR East has four reportable divisions: Transportation, Station Space Utilisation, Shopping Centres and Office Buildings, and Others.

The Transportation division operates 7,458km of rail network including bullet train lines between Kanto and Tohoku, covering the eastern half of Honshu. The company’s Tokyo metropolitan network stretches to about 2,535km with a total traffic volume of 103,310million passenger kilometres. Conventional lines in other networks run to about 3,728km with a total traffic volume of 5,844million passenger kilometres. The company’s intercity network – centred on Shinkansen – reaches 1,194km with a total traffic volume of 20,914million passenger kilometres. It runs lines from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori, Niigata, Nagano, Shinjo and Akita.

JR East’s Station Space Utilisation division offers retailing and restaurant services within and around railway stations and also sells food and beverages on trains.

The company’s Shopping Centres and Office Buildings division provides shopping facilities at the railway stations operated by the company. It also leases space in shopping centres in and around stations.

The Other Services division handles advertising in railway stations and inside trains. It is also involved in the hotel and construction industries as well as providing credit card, delivery and cleaning services among other activities.