Co-modality over competition – a Swiss recipe for rail freight

Swiss national freight carrier SBB Cargo and road transport association Astag have signed an agreement for a more co-ordinated rail freight infrastructure and an improved relationship between road and rail. The aim is to find new approaches for future logistics requirements, by delivering a national framework for freight, ensuring goods transportation has parity with passengers’ interests, and expanding terminal capacities.


They agree that an efficient, freight-oriented transport network is vitally important for the Swiss economy, an economy which thrives on innovative, ecological and future-oriented solutions. This, they say, is the only way to ensure the efficient delivery of key day-to-day services, whether that is sending the mail on time, ensuring the supermarket shelves are kept full, and equipping hospitals with the medicines they need.

Andreas Meyer, CEO of SBB Cargo, said: “The aim is to increase the location advantage of the Swiss economy with a strong goods transport sector and to find new approaches for tomorrow’s logistics. This is the only way to provide customers with tailor-made transport solutions for their supply chain.”


In Switzerland, freight transport is facing numerous challenges both on rail and on the road. These include the ever-growing traffic problems, which lead to capacity bottlenecks throughout the country, as well as digitalisation and demands over quality. That is why both SBB and Astag are promoting ‘co-modality’ as a concept which needs further development and the right framework to make it a reality. This includes ensuring that no unnecessary regulatory burdens are put in the path of progress.

Adrian Amstutz, CEO of Astag, added: “It is therefore all the more important that the strengths of all transport companies and of all transport companies be exploited in a targeted manner. We must better link transport modes in the future.”

Gateway Basel Nord

SBB Cargo is currently working on a number of innovative projects to further develop its business, such as the intelligent freight cars and the development of an automatic clutch, to drive production into the digital age. One project which both are working on is the planned Gateway Basel Nord, a key trimodal transport hub. Astag meanwhile is improving the efficiency of road transport through better internal planning and scheduling.

Nicolas Perrin, Head of SBB Cargo, added: “In addition to the entrepreneurial approaches, the best possible conditions are also necessary. Inadequate infrastructure offerings and unequal conditions of competition against international competition limit the ability of Swiss logistics companies to act.”

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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