The amount of freight crossing the Swiss Alps was down by one fifth in the first six months of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008.This content was published on August 24, 2009 - 15:15
The Federal Transport Office confirmed a report in the German-language Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper on Monday that transalpine freight by both road and rail fell from 21.3 million net tons to 16.9 million, a drop of 20.6 per cent.
The paper said that rail had been more affected than road, falling by 24.2 per cent. This reduced rail's share of transalpine freight traffic from 63 to 61 per cent.
The volume of transalpine freight carried by road fell by 14 per cent.
Rail is generally preferred for transporting goods including machine parts and motor vehicles, two industries which have been badly affected by the current economic crisis.
Price competition between haulage firms has also made road transport more attractive relative to rail.
The Transport Office on Monday released the findings of a five year study on air pollution on Switzerland's north-south highways.
It said air quality improved slightly between 2003 and 2008, thanks largely to changes to truck engines. However, emissions of pollutants remain excessive in the Gotthard region and the maximum permitted levels were often exceeded all along the main north-south route linking Basel and Chiasso.
The study revealed that noise pollution caused by traffic had not improved over the same five years.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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