Information published on 21 March 2012 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 283.

Rail freight volume through the Alps reaches record levels in 2011

The total volume of freight transport through the Alps has never been greater. Despite a decline in the second half of 2011 due to the economic slowdown in Europe, rail freight volumes reached a record high in 2011 and road freight transport increased slightly.

Last week the Swiss Federal Department for Transport, Communications, Energy and Environment (DETEC) stated in a press release that, for the first time, 40.1 million tonnes of freight were carried through the Alps in a year – up by 4.4% on 2010. Rail delivered 25.6 million tonnes of goods (6.5% growth) while 14.5 million tonnes were transported by road (0.9% growth).

The previous record dates back to 2008 when it did not exceed the 40 million-tonne mark.

Over the year the number of trucks crossing the Alps remained stable (0.1%) at 1.258 million. This figure remains significantly above the target of a maximum of 650,000 trucks by 2018, as set out in the constitutional amendment on the transfer of freight traffic from road to rail. The Federal Council said last December that additional measures would need to be taken in this area.

The number of heavy trucks crossing the Alps rose by 4.3% in the first half of 2011 but fell by 3.9% in the second half due to the economic downturn. This was particularly the case in Italy which is the number one destination for the departure of transit freight traffic via Switzerland.

(Source: Romandie News)