SBB Cargo is all back in the hands of the Swiss government
The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), the Helvetic infrastructure manager, is back to being the only shareholder of its freight subsidiary SBB Cargo. The state-owned company has repurchased the 35 per cent of shares that, in April 2019, were sold to Swiss Combi, a consortium of Swiss transport and logistics companies.
SBB Cargo will also have a new CEO, Alexander Muhm, who will succeed Désirée Baer. Other than SBB Cargo, Muhm will also be in charge of SBB Intermodal, the company tasked with building a capillary rail terminal network in Switzerland. According to SBB, this is a move that will help the implementation of the Suisse Cargo Logistics, the company’s plan to boost rail freight.
With this move, SBB “wants to simplify its management structure and prepare for possible federal support for single wagon traffic”, as the company said in a note. The companies involved in Swiss Combi were Planzer Holding (40 per cent), Camion Transport (40 per cent), Galliker Holding (10 per cent), and Bertschi (10 per cent).
Single wagonload traffic is not financially independent
SBB mentioned that the main reason for this initiative is that operations, especially single wagonload traffic, are no longer financially viable. The same was said by the Federal Office of Transport back in August 2022. The Swiss Federal Council submitted two new variants to the framework conditions for freight transport to incentivise rail freight. The two variants are supporting single wagonload or opening competition with road transport. The industry, so far, seemed keener on the first one, despite asking for many amendments to it.