The Swiss Federal Council has presented two new framework conditions for freight transport to stimulate rail transport. It is reported by Railway Supply magazine with reference to RailFreight.

SBB Cargo

The first concerns the massive financial support from the Swiss government for single-car transport. The second option, on the other hand, withholds financial support and encourages competition, which is likely to benefit road transport. Consultations on the further development of rail freight will last until 24 February.

Both options involve support for Digitally Automatic Coupling (DAC) and were presented at the Council meeting on November 2. The structure was last updated ten years ago, according to a note from the Swiss Federal Office of Transport. “However, rail freight has not been able to increase its market share as hoped,” the report said.

The first option involves the implementation of targeted financial support from the Confederation to companies offering single-carriage and DAC services. In addition, it includes a financing plan for material handling equipment, as well as a reduction in the cost of loading.

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“One-car transportation offered by SBB Cargo remains very difficult and expensive,” the report emphasizes. The measures included in this option would cost around €600 million over four years, after which the system would gradually operate on its own.

The second option does not provide financial support for single wagon transport, which forces rail freight transport to compete with road transport. However, financial support for DAC, cargo handling equipment and loading price reductions will still be implemented. This measure is significantly cheaper for the government as it will cost approximately 120 million euros over four years. However, this option has some drawbacks when it comes to freight rail transport and Swiss mobility in general.

In fact, it is believed that this option, if passed, will stop the movement of individual wagons in favor of road transport, resulting in an increase in the number of trucks by 650,000 per year. In addition, competitive offers will only be available in areas where volumes are larger and therefore the demand for rail transport may be higher. According to the forecasts of the Office, the market share of rail freight in Switzerland will fall by five to six percent.

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