SNCB/NMBS expects €300 million loss in 2020
With the coronavirus, the lockdown, and continuous service, the SNCB/NMBS announced an operational loss of 152,3 million euros at the end of June. For the whole year of 2020, the rail operator expects to lose more than 300 million euros.
Rail is one of the first-line economic victims of the coronavirus health crisis. “At the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, the number of passengers fell sharply to 9,7% of the usual number. This figure fell to nearly 49% at the end of June, due to the relaxation of lockdown measures,” notes the SNCB/NMBS in a press release.
Compared to the first quarter of 2019 where the operator managed a 44,3 million-euros benefit, 2020 is the complete opposite. In the first quarter alone, the SNCB/NMBS records an operation loss of 152,3 million euros. If the situation doesn’t evolve, the rail could lose more than 300 million euros for the whole year.
Of course, the Covid-19 health crisis is the major culprit of this drastic operational loss. Being a public service, the operator could adapt its train service to the demand. Thus, during the lockdown, the SNCB/NMBS kept a maximal operational service. That didn’t give a chance to the company to spare some cash, as exploitations costs remain the same.
As the year passes its halfway mark, the company in charge of the Belgian railways has fallen considerably, posting 1,04 billion euros in operating results compared to almost 1,29 billion for the same period last year.