Czech Railways lost CZK 1.98 billion in the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis and reduced traffic. A decrease in sales was recorded in passenger and freight transport. 59.8 million passengers traveled on the carrier’s trains in the first half of the year, a third less year-on-year. The company reported profits in 2019 of CZK 1.3 billion.
“Following the introduction of measures against the spread of the disease, the number of passengers in our trains has fallen by more than 90 percent compared to the current situation. However, they dropped to a minimum,” the carrier said.
After the initial easing of restrictions, the number of passengers began to rise gradually, but the company has not yet reached last year’s number of customers or sales. International transport is down significantly. Passenger transport ended in a loss of CZK 1.92 billion.
The average transport distance per passenger, which was 43 kilometers in the first half of the year, and the total transport performance, also decreased. In total, railway passengers covered 2.56 billion kilometers in the first six months of the year.
Freight transport operated by the subsidiary ČD Cargo also ended up with a loss of CZK 44 million. In previous years, it significantly contributed to the profit of the entire group. This year’s loss was due to the halt in the transport of some commodities, especially in the automotive industry and in the transport of containers to and from China. Despite the crisis, however, ČD Cargo continues to operate in foreign markets.
The company has taken several measures in recent months due to the crisis. In addition to internal cost-saving measures, especially in terms of personnel and overhead costs, it was, for example, the use of government programs Antivirus and COVID.
Despite the crisis, the railways continue to invest in fleet renewal. Nebeský mentioned, for example, the delivery of 50 passenger express cars, the purchase of non-traction push-pull sets, or RegioPanter two-car units. The company is also trying to renew trains in freight transport, which is key to its further expansion abroad.
The Czech Railways group consists of passenger carriers and ČD Cargo freight. The group also includes the Railway Research Institute, ČD Telematika data services, and ČD Information Systems ICT services. The group employs 23,500 people.