CZ/SK verze

Swiss Shippers Council and Contship Italia: discussing intermodal connectivity after finishing of Gotthard Tunnel

Swiss Shippers Council and Contship Italia: discussing intermodal connectivity after finishing of Gotthard Tunnel
photo: SBB/Gotthard Base tunnel - map by SBB
01 / 03 / 2021

In September 2020 the Ceneri Base Tunnel was opened in Switzerland. It represents the final section of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. The series of tunnels now runs through the Swiss Alps for 57 kilometers. Since the opening of Ceneri Tunnel, the shippers have the possibility to transport their cargo from all Italian ports by rail.

The Swiss Shippers Council (SSC), an association of Swiss shippers should act neutral for the interests of the transport industry in both cross-border and national freight transportation. Recently there was an interview with the Director of the Council, Mr. Phillippe Muster. He was questioned by Mary Ng, the Account Director of Helix PR agency on behalf of Contship Italia. The topic of the discussion was the situation of Swiss shippers after the completion of the final section of the tunnel complex.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel should significantly cut the freight transport time between Milan and Zurich/Basel. Swiss shippers are expected to be encouraged to shift their freight from road to rail. A lot of them appreciate reliable and short connections among the Ligurian Ports and the inland hubs for continental traffic. Mr. Muster said, that shippers could increase the shift to rail even further if shipping lines, rail operators, and forwarders can transfer this advantage into the unique service.

The use of the ports in northern Europe by Swiss shippers and forwarders is driven more by saving of time and money and not so much by sustainability issues such as the reduction of C02 emissions. It is because the highly competitive markets now make those bottom-line issues important. But Mr. Muster has no doubt that awareness of this vital issue has increased among the shippers and sustainability will be a higher priority eventually.

The Swiss authorities and the parliament do aim to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 relative to 1990 levels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement signed in 2015. The reductions should be done by 75% in Switzerland and by 25% abroad. Those goals are coded in a new CO2 law which includes a package of incentives to achieve them.

Another topic of the interview was the role of Italy as the maritime gateway for Switzerland as well as for continental Europe, which might be increased by the completion of the Gotthard tunnel. It could level up the competitiveness of the Southern Gateway compared to the northern ports.

Mr. Phillippe Muster mentioned that despite a big step forward in the infrastructure is finished, the support of all participants in the supply chain as well as the Italian government and the port operators is important. To improve and maintain the infrastructure is therefore vital for efficiency and reliability of the transport connection among the tunnel and the Italian sea-ports and inland hubs. Mr. Muster does not expect any overnight switch to the southern ports, because the northern ports still have efficient and stable processes and customer relationships. Also, their logistics partners are focused on saving time and money firstly, meanwhile, the customs procedures in the Netherlands and Germany are easier than in Italy.