Friday, August 14, 2009

Swiss Hauliers and Greens at Loggerheads

New report stokes row
Shipping News Feature

SWITZERLAND - The argument between environmentalists and the freight industry in Switzerland has flared up once again.

In a study published last week by the Alpine Initiative, who seek to more than half the number of trucks on Swiss roads by 2019, the movement claims that the completion of the Gotthard Base Tunnel will only increase rail freight’s share of haulage in the country by about 2.5 percent.

The group is calling on the Swiss government to financially penalise road hauliers so that rail freight becomes of greater economic viability.

This has bought a sharp reaction from the country’s road hauliers association, Astag, which describes the Gotthard project as a utopian endeavour that will gobble millions of francs. In a statement the organisation said that: “The demands for even more tariffs and coercive penalties against road transport are old illusions.”

When it opens in 2017 the tunnel shall be, at 57 kilometres, the longest in the world and will be a major conduit connecting the north and south of the country.

For details on the Gotthard Base Tunnel and the NRLA project see: