The Swiss railways (SBB Cargo) are reforming their national network for wagon load freight traffic. There is a strong – political – will to maintain this type of rail freight as an essential part of the country’s transport mix, but it requires structural changes to maintain its relevance in the near future. Until 2023, SBB Cargo is reassessing 170 of 344 transport hubs in its wagon load network, in close cooperation with its customers.
Over 2017 SBB Cargo’s results were negative; while international traffic grew, systematic wagon load traffic remained more or less stable (-0.8%), the volume of incidental wagon loads dropped with another 14.5%. Wagon load traffic in Switzerland lost around one-third of its volume since 2011.
An even more systematic way of working – this has been a focus for several years now – and more automatisation should increase the efficiency of the network and result in positive figures as of 2020. For now, the operator has to take the hits and invest in restructuring and reorganisation.