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Economic crisis hits alpine freight hard

The economic downturn has sharlpy reduced the transit of goods through the Alps, with less freight transported by both road and rail, the transport ministry says.

There was a drop of 17.7 per cent in goods that went by rail and the number of trucks went down by 7.4 per cent compared with 2008.

Switzerland’s transport policy aims to move alpine freight from road to rail, mainly for environmental reasons.

But 2009 was not a good year - 61 per cent of freight went by rail, compared with 64 per cent in 2008, a statement said.

The ministry blamed lower prices for road transport and lower demand from, among others, the crisis-hit steel, car and paper industries.

The number of trucks that used the north-south alpine routes was, at 1.18 million, the smallest since 1998. But it is still far from the government’s goal of 650,000 per year.

In autumn last year it said that extra measures would be needed to reduce numbers further. The biggest potential, the ministry said, was an alpine crossing exchange, a traffic management system for trucks. and agencies


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