ON JANUARY 1 2000 DB Cargo and NS Cargo will formally merge into a single business. Trading with the working title of Rail Cargo Europe, the combined operations of the two companies will form a private limited company which will later become a public limited company under German law. The freight businesses of German and Netherlands Railways will continue as operating subsidiaries of the new company (RG 2.99 p87).

Agreements giving effect to the merger were signed in Frankfurt on June 22 (left) by DB Chairman Dr Johannes Ludewig and NS President Rob den Besten in the presence of German Transport Minister Franz Müntefering; they are still subject to approval by European and national anti-trust authorities.

Both signatories were keen to stress that RCE is a company open to further partnerships with other transport or logistics companies. Den Besten said that integration of the two businesses was a precondition for quality improvement. He also emphasised the guarantees in the deal which ensure that Dutch interests are not ignored; these include a right of veto and membership of the supervisory and executive boards.

TABLE: Rail Cargo Europe in

profile (1998 figures)

NS Cargo DB Cargo

Turnover DM million 320 6600

Tonne-km billion 3·8 73·3

Tonnes million 24·7 289

Locomotives 200 4600

Wagons 3800 130000

Trains/day 400 7000

Employees 1605 43509