Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swiss Road and Rail Freight Volumes Down

Alpine transit route reports drop in traffic
Shipping News Feature

SWITZERLAND – A report into freight movements crossing the Swiss Alps for the first six months of this year shows a drop in combined Road/Rail volumes of almost 21% compared to the comparative period in 2008. Carriage levels were down from in excess of 21 million tonnes to less than 17 million.

Rail has been worse hit than road freight, partially due to the reduction of cargo carrying tariffs by local hauliers who vie with each other for dwindling levels of business. Also the heavy goods traditionally transported by rail throughout the region, such as machines and machine parts, vehicles etc., have been subjected to falling demand more than some other sectors.

The Gotthard tunnel, the longest road tunnel in the world, is due to open in 2017 but a recent study indicated that its impact on actual traffic levels would be very small.

Monday also saw the publishing of the Office of Transport report which has studied pollution levels on the transit highways of the Country for the past five years. Pollution, both air and noise, has traditionally been a sensitive issue in the country and the findings of the Transport Office are not encouraging.

Despite an overall improvement in air quality during the course of the study there has been no reduction in noise in the same period. In addition the pollution in the Gotthard region remains excessively high and the Basle to Chiasso highway, the main North/South motorway through the country, was shown to have persistently exceeded maximum permitted levels of air pollutants.