Logistics And Frieght Forwarding

SBB Cargo to restructure single wagonload traffic

SWISS Federal Railways’ freight subsidiary SBB Cargo plans to introduce a synchronised timetable for its single wagonload traffic sector, with up to three daily shifts at its main marshalling yards instead of just one when the nationwide railway schedule in Switzerland changes on December 11. Customers will be able to reserve slots for collection and delivery at specific times and locations. The aim of this move is to modernise its single wagonload operations to keep pace with current practices in the logistics market.

With the new schedule, handling operations will be spread over 24 hours instead of only at night, and customers will be offered the possibility of more overnight express services. The timetable is designed to have minimal impact on the morning and evening rush-hour traffic in the passenger sector. Regular connections will be made between the main shunting yards at Limmatttal, Lausanne Triage, Basel, Buchs and Chiasso.

The new scheme was designed over the last two years in cooperation with major customers, who include the cement company Holcim, Feldschl?sschen brewery and the road transport company Planzer. At the moment SBB Cargo is market leader for all road/rail transport operations in Switzerland, accounting for 25% and carrying an average of 205,000 tonnes a day. As well offering improved services, SBB Cargo expects to be able to operate more efficiently, with more efficient use being made of the rolling stock and fewer drivers being needed.

This in turn will help reduce expenditure: SBB Cargo recorded a loss of CHF 22m (£US 22.25m) last year as a result of the weak euro, but Perrin is confident that figures will be better this year.

“We are facing the biggest change in schedule in the company’s history,” says SBB Cargo CEO Mr Nicholas Perrin. “Rail is at the moment relatively dumb, but this is changing with the introduction of innovations such as asset intelligence, mobile devices, automation in shunting yards, automatic brake tests, predictive maintenance, automatic coupling and wayside technology.

We are working on all these facettes.”

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