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Federal Railways’ freight arm signals profit

The Federal Railways' cargo division says it is on track for a profit in 2005 Keystone Archive

The cargo division of the Swiss Federal Railways says it is on track to make the first profit in its history, after recording a 1.8 per cent increase in traffic last year.

The freight arm recorded a total of 10.1 billion tonne-kilometres in 2004 – an increase of more than 1 billion tonne-kilometres compared with the previous year.

“Last year laid the foundations for the company to achieve the ambitious goals that we have set for ourselves this year,” commented Daniel Nordmann, head of the Federal Railways’ cargo division.

The company reported on Wednesday that increases in the amount of freight carried in Switzerland and abroad had offset the effects of greater competition in the sector.

“Competition has made our business stronger,” added Nordmann.

“Our transformation into a rail operator that is even more efficient and competitive compared with road transport would not have been possible in such a short a time without competition among the various rail companies.”

Cross-border cargo

According to Nordmann, strategies introduced to boost the amount of freight carried by subsidiaries in Germany and Italy had seen business in both countries grow by almost 20 per cent.

Following the introduction of a new rail timetable in Switzerland in December, the company says it has quadrupled the number of freight trains running in Germany and Italy.

The amount of rail freight carried in Switzerland was up by more than 13 per cent last year – reaching a record 2.7 billion tonne-kilometres.

But the amount of cargo traffic passing through Switzerland fell by almost five per cent.

“We are losing transit traffic which used to automatically come to us when we held the monopoly on the Gotthard line,” explained Nordmann.

“But at the same time we will see further increases this year in Germany and Italy, which will more than compensate for these losses.”

swissinfo with agencies

The Federal Railways’ cargo division employs 4,700 staff
The unit achieved 10.1 billion tonne-kilometres in 2004.
This was an increase of 1.8% on 2003.
A tonne-kilometre represents the transport of one tonne over one kilometre.

The Swiss Federal Railways’ cargo division is the leading supplier of rail freight services in Switzerland.

The lion’s share of its traffic is transalpine freight on the north-south axis through Switzerland.

Rail accounts for 63% of transalpine traffic in Switzerland – the highest percentage in Europe.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR