German railways saw their largest drop in freight volumes since they began keeping statistics in 1950. The first-half numbers for 2009 show a 42.5 million tonne decline to 147.3 million tonnes. That's 22% lower than the same period a year ago.
The German rails have been feeling the effects of the global economic decline since November 2008 when volumes began to show declines of 2.8% per month relative to the same month in 2007.
Intermodal (identified as containers and swap-bodies) registered volumes of 26.9 million tonnes, a 21.2% decline compared with the first half of 2008. Measured in twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs), the railways handled 2.5 million TEUs, which was roughly equivalent to first-half 2006.