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Germany Transportation



Germany has a very modern transportation network. The country is known for its high-speed autobahns, efficient railroads and busy ports.

Germany’s railroads, which total 48,215 km in length, are well known for their efficiency. In 1994, four years after German reunification, the private Deutsche Bahn AG assumed control of the former Deutsche Bundesbahn in the West and the former Reichsbahn in the East. By the end of 2001, Germany had built or upgraded 5,800 kilometers of rail lines in the new states in the East under the Aufbau Ost program. German trains carry passengers, freight, cars and even trucks on special flatcars. In 1991 the railroads in the West began to introduce high-speed inter-city service. High-speed trains can travel as fast as 250 kilometers/hour. In addition, in 2005 Deutsche Bahn plans to build a magnetic levitation train service between Berlin and Hamburg using German-made technology known as Maglev.

In 2004, Germany’s road network has a total length of 230,800 km, including limited-access, high-speed autobahns (11,800 km), federal highways (41,200 km), ordinary roads (86,800 km), and district roads (91,000 km). In general, the network is modern, reflecting improvements to the antiquated roads in the East under the reconstruction program called Aufbau Ost (reconstruction of the East), which led to the construction or upgrade of 13,200 kilometers of federal highways or trunk roads by the end of 2001.

The total length of regularly used navigable inland waterways and canals was 7,467 km in 2006. Canals link the Elbe with the Ems, the Ems with the Dortmund, and the Baltic with the North Sea. The most important inland waterway consists of the Rhine and its tributaries, which carry more freight than any other European waterway. The Kiel Canal is an important connection between the Baltic Sea and North Sea. Major ports and harbours include Berlin, Bonn, Brake, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Cologne, Dresden, Duisburg, Emden, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Kiel, Lubeck, Magdeburg, Mannheim, Rostock and Stuttgart.

Germany has 18 international airports. The largest airport is Frankfurt am Main. The German government is in the process of upgrading Berlin’s airport system, which reflects the city’s former Cold War division. The centrepiece of the plan is the construction of a new international airport, to be called Berlin-Brandenburg, by 2012. Berlin’s Tegel and Tempelhof airports will be closed between 2008 and 2010. Other major airports are
located in Cologne, Dresden, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart. Germany’s largest air carrier is Lufthansa, which is owned by a publicly traded corporation.

Germany uses an extensive pipeline network, consisting of eight major pipelines connected to local distribution grids, to import natural gas. Several of these pipelines serve other European countries as well. In 2002 Germany imported 75% of its natural gas requirements. Germany obtains most of its imported natural gas from Russia, Norway, and the Netherlands. Russia’s influence as a natural gas supplier is bound to increase since the Russian oil giant Gazprom began construction of an 1,197 km-long underwater pipeline from Russia directly to Germany in September 2005. Construction of the pipeline, which has a capacity of 55 million cubic metres per year, should be completed in 2010.

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