Railways Switzerland

An Expert's View about Freight Rail Transport in Switzerland

Posted on: 7 Oct 2010

The Swiss railway transport network is one of the densest in the world. Switzerland plays a key role in the development of international freight and passenger services, particularly transalpine services.

Railways Sector Report Railways Switzerland Produced by: Regula Hofer, Senior Project Manager Trade & Investment, British Embassy, Berne Last revised March 2010 Whereas every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this document is accurate, neither UK Trade & Investment nor its parent Departments (the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), accept liability for any errors, omissions or misleading statements, and no warranty is given or responsibility accepted as to the standing of any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned. Published March 2010 by UK Trade & Investment. Crown Copyright © www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk Railways Table of Contents OVERVIEW 3 OPPORTUNITIES 3 CHARACTERISTICS OF MARKET 4 KEY METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS 4 MORE DETAILED SECTOR REPORTS 5 PUBLICATIONS 5 EVENTS 6 CONTACT LISTS 6 www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk Page 2 of 7 Railways OVERVIEW The Swiss railway transport network is one of the densest in the world. Due to its geo-strategic position in the heart of Europe, Switzerland plays a key role in the development of international freight and passenger services, particularly transalpine services. To enhance the competitiveness of the railway system most of Switzerland?s 35bn Swiss Francs (CHF) rail reform programme on cross border and domestic public transport and freight traffic should be implemented by 2020. In December 2008, the Swiss National Council has asked the Swiss Federal Council to submit two proposals for the further upgrade of the railway infrastructure (?Bahn 2030? programme) in the amount of 21 respectively 12 bn CHF. The consultation phase will last until 2010; the final decision is subject to vote taken by the Swiss electorate. The Federal Authorities allot approximately 2bn Swiss Francs annually to the Swiss railway operators whereof a third to passenger and freight traffic and two-thirds to infrastructure. OPPORTUNITIES Rail reform programme Bahn 2000 Phase I SBB?s major rail reform programme Bahn 2000 phase I is almost complete and the transalpine base tunnel Lötschberg ? one of two high-speed links being built under the Alps (www.blsalptransit.ch) ? was opened for traffic in December 2007. The opening of the 34.6km tunnel and the introduction of a new timetable will reduce journey times considerably from many parts of the country to the southwest. The construction the second high capacity transalpine base tunnel St. Gotthard is well underway and is due to open in 2017 (www.alptransit.ch). With a length of 57 km, the new rail tunnel will be the longest of its kind in the world. Rail reform programme Bahn 2000 Phase II The second phase of the ?Bahn 2000? programme will be implemented between 2010 and 2020. Its key projects are: Passenger traffic integration into the European high-speed network is of great strategic importance to Switzerland. This is achieved through continuous improvement of the high-speed network to the centres of the neighbouring countries, as well as the gradual upgrading of the main trunks. Further national large-scale projects of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) are: ? Altstetten?Zurich Main Station?Oerlikon cross-city link (www.sbb.ch) ? CEVA ? a new rail link for the Lake Geneva Region (www.ceva.ch) ? Ferrovia Lugano-Mendrisio-Varese-Malpensa (www.sbb.ch) ? Expansion of Zurich S-Bahn train services (www.zvv.ch) To increase network capacity, SBB is introducing new technologies including the following projects: ? Automation and harmonisation of signal boxes for centralised train control. ? Implementing the European Train Control System (ETCS), including in-cab signalling. ? Global System Mobile for Railways (GSM-R), a new data transmission network. To bring noise emissions within the legal limits by 2015, one of the operators? first priority is to upgrade their rolling stock. www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk Page 3 of 7 Railways The rail reform programme on cross border and domestic public transport and freight traffic offers a wide range of opportunities for UK companies to win stakes in the ongoing process, even though Switzerland has strong domestic suppliers. A key method for UK companies to enter the Swiss market is through Swiss public procurement: all Swiss railway undertakings, SBB, private railways, and municipal railways are committed to operate public purchasing policies. Public tenders are fed in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce. Detailed information are on www.shab.ch. UKTI publishes international business opportunities gathered by our network of British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates worldwide. These opportunities appear in the Opportunities portlet on the relevant sector and country pages on the UKTI website. By setting up a profile you can be alerted by email when relevant new opportunities are published. New or updated alert profiles can be set in My Account on the website. CHARACTERISTICS OF MARKET Besides the joint-stock company wholly owned by the Swiss Confederation - the Swiss Federal Railways SBB ? there are 39 private railway companies operating in Switzerland. The railroads of Switzerland have a length of 5,024 km whereof more than two-thirds are standard gauge. Nearly all of the Swiss standard gauge railroads are part of the nationwide SBB network, which also includes affiliated lines such as BLS (Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon). Three-quarters of the public transport falls on railways amounting to 18bn passenger kilometres annually, of which 15.1bn alone are provided by SBB. SBB transports 306 million passengers annually. The net tonne-kilometres of its subsidiary SBB Cargo AG - Switzerland?s leading provider of rail freight services ? amount to 13.37bn per annum. The transalpine rail freight traffic passing through Switzerland amounts to 25.3 million tonnes annually, which equates a share of 65% of all transalpine freight traffic and makes the Swiss rail routes one of the densest in the world. Key players in the Swiss market Major operators ? Schweizerische Bundesbahnen SBB (www.sbb.ch) ? SBB Cargo (www.sbbcargo.ch) ? Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon BLS (www.bls.ch) ? BLS Cargo (www.blscargo.ch) Major manufacturers of rolling stock ? Stadler Rail (www.stadlerrail.ch) ? Bombardier Transportation (www.transportation.bombardier.com) ? Alstom (Schweiz) AG (www.ch.alstom.com) KEY METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS Even though Switzerland is not a member state, the European Union is by far the most important trading partner of Switzerland. However, while Switzerland shares close contractual ties with the EU, the country has its own established standards and regulations, which are not necessarily, but more often than not, valid within the European Community. The Swiss Standards Association, SNV provides manufacturers with guidance on local standards and serves as the link to relevant European (CEN) and international organisations (ISO) (www.snv.ch). www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk Page 4 of 7 Railways Switzerland encompasses three main languages (German, French, Italian) and even though English is widely spoken it is important to have any documentation available in at least one of the official national languages. In general, quality and technical criteria are more important than price in bid decisions. If you wish to establish a long-term relationship with Swiss customers you should be prepared to satisfy the demands and requirements, provide evidence of flexibility and a high level of service, and express commitment to the market. It is essential that products are supplied on schedule and in accordance with the contracted details. Ongoing communication and feedback between supplier and customer is another important aspect. Other background information on doing business in Switzerland can be found on UKTI?s website. Simply go to Switzerland?s country page where you will find information on: ? Economic background and geography ? Customs & regulations ? Selling & communications ? Contacts & setting up ? Visiting and social hints and tips MORE DETAILED SECTOR REPORTS Research is critical when considering new markets. UKTI provides market research services which can help UK companies doing business overseas including: ? Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS). Bespoke research into potential markets, and support during your visits overseas ? Export Marketing Research Scheme. In-depth and subsidised service administered by the British Chambers of Commerce on behalf of UKTI Contact your local International Trade Adviser if you are interested in accessing these services, or for general advice in developing your export strategy. When considering doing business in Switzerland, it is essential to obtain legal, financial and taxation advice. For further details, please contact: Regula Hofer Senior Project Manager Trade & Investment British Embassy Thunstrasse 50 CH-3005 Bern Tel: +41 (0)31 359 7742 Fax: +41 (0)31 359 7701 regula.hofer@fco.gov.uk PUBLICATIONS Technische Rundschau Swiss Industry Magazine Edition Colibri AG Nordring 4 CH-3001 Bern Tel: +41 (0)31 335 5753 Language: German www.technische-rundschau.ch www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk Page 5 of 7 Railways Eisenbahnrevue International or Schweizer Eisenbahnrevue Minirex AG Maihofstrasse 63 CH-6002 Luzern Tel: +41 (0)41 429 7070 Language: German www.minirex.ch Other sources of information ? Swiss Rail Non-profit Swiss rail industry association (www.swissrail.com) ? VoeV Verband öffentlicher Verkehr Representative organisation for all public transport undertakings (www.voev.ch) ? Litra Information service for public transport (www.litra.ch) EVENTS Suissetraffic (www.suissetraffic.ch) Exhibition on transport, rolling stock, equipment and maintenance 7 - 10 December 2010, BEA Expo Berne, Switzerland UK Trade & Investment?s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) can help eligible UK businesses take part in overseas exhibitions. Attendance at TAP events offers significant benefits: ? possibilities for business opportunities both at the show and in the future ? a chance to assess new markets and develop useful contacts ? grants are available if you meet the criteria ? UKTI staff overseas will be available to assist delegates Find out if you are eligible to apply to attend this event, and more about the support UKTI can offer, on the UKTI Market Entry web page. Details of TAP events can be found in the Events portlet on the Switzerland page. Other Market Visit Support may be available via your local International Trade Advisor. CONTACT LISTS Regula Hofer Senior Project Manager Trade & Investment British Embassy Thunstrasse 50 CH-3005 Berne Tel: +41 31 359 7742 Fax: +41 31 359 7701 regula.hofer@fco.gov.uk UKTI?s International Trade Advisers can provide you with essential and impartial advice on all aspects of international trade. Every UK region also has dedicated sector specialists who can provide advice tailored to your industry. You can trace your nearest advisor by entering your postcode into the Local Office Database on the homepage of our website. www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk Page 6 of 7 Railways For new and inexperienced exporters, our Passport to Export process will take you through the mechanics of exporting. An International Trade Adviser will provide professional advice on a range of services, including financial subsidies, export documentation, contacts in overseas markets, overseas visits, translating marketing material, e-commerce, subsidised export training and market research. www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk Page 7 of 7
Posted: 07 October 2010

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