Ralpin wants to ride into 2028
Positive development in demand for the Rolling Highway – continuation until 2028 is important to guarantee modal shift Since the fourth quarter of 2022, the demand to transport lorries on the Rolling Highway between Freiburg (D) and Novara (I) has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The task now is to secure the future of this still important modal shift product until the end of 2028, in order to prevent a shift back of heavy goods vehicles onto the road. A restrictive decree by the Italian government prevented RAlpin from loading trucks onto the railway in the first quarter of 2022 if the lorry drivers were not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This resulted in a loss of 5,600 shipments. Nevertheless, almost 72,000 lorries (compared with almost 69,000 in the previous year) were able to cross Switzerland by rail instead of road last year thanks to the RAlpin service, saving the environment 24,660 tons of CO². This pleasing demand persisted in the first months of 2023. The target agreed with the federal government of transporting around 80,000 lorries a year on the Rolling Highway is realistic. The political decision-making process for the continuation of the Rolling Highway from 2024 is challenging: RAlpin has proposed to the federal government that the product be discontinued at the end of 2028. By then, the conditions will be in place for a significant proportion of the lorries currently being transported to switch to unaccompanied combined transport. For financial policy reasons, the Federal Council came to the conclusion in September 2022 that the Rolling Highway should be ordered only until the end of 2026. Thus, the cessation of operations would fall in the middle of the reconstruction phase of the Novara terminal. During this phase, unaccompanied combined transport capacity will be reduced by 100,000 consignments per year. This would mean a capacity shortfall of 180,000 in the area west of Milan in the years 2026 to 2027. Freight-forwarding companies will have to make these journeys through the Alps by road again. The Rolling Highway uses its own terminal in the immediate vicinity, which is not affected by the conversion and can at least partially absorb the volume that will be lost. Between 2026 and 2028, it will thus make an important, useful contribution to avoiding the shift of heavy goods traffic back onto transalpine road links through Switzerland. For more information, please see our Annual Report 2022 at www.ralpin.com/gb2022 (only available in German).
The story of Switzerland's Rolling Highway continues. Since the target agreed with the Swiss federal government to transport around 80,000 trucks a year on the rolling highway is considered to be realistic, operator Ralpin insists on public support until 2028 in order to save around 30,000 t carbon a year and prevent heavy goods vehicles from shifting back onto the road.
In 2022, about 72,000 trucks (+4.3% compared to 69,000 units in 2021) were able to cross Switzerland by rail instead of road last year, saving about 24,660 t of carbon.
Figures would have been even higher if the Italian authorities had not decided in Q1/2022 to only let lorry drivers who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 use the option, resulting in a loss of approx. 5,600 shipments in 2022.
Yet, traffic on the Rolling Highway between Freiburg (D) and Novara (I) remained strong also in the first months of 2023. At this stage, the Swiss Federal Council’s political decision to phase out the service in 2026 still prevails, although, as Ralpin pointed out, "between 2026 and 2028, the Rolling Highway will make an important, useful contribution to preventing heavy goods traffic from shifting back onto transalpine road links through Switzerland." (cd)