RAlpin reports pre-pandemic levels of traffic in Q4 2022, fears early stop of its service

RAlpin reports pre-pandemic levels of traffic in Q4 2022, fears early stop of its service
© RAlpin

Despite challenges at the beginning of 2022, rolling highway operator RAlpin recorded a 4% increase compared to the previous year.

RAlpin, the rolling highway between Freiburg (Germany) and Novara (Italy) has returned to pre-pandemic levels since the fourth quarter of 2022.

The rolling highway operator faced challenges in the first quarter of 2022 due to a restrictive decree by the Italian government. The decree prohibited the rail transportation of trucks whose drivers were not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This caused an expected loss of 5,600 shipments. Nevertheless, despite this setback, RAlpin facilitated the passage of nearly 72,000 trucks (compared to just under 69,000 the previous year) through Switzerland via rail instead of roads, thereby saving 24,660 tons of CO2 emissions.

The positive demand for Rolling Highway services has continued in the early months of 2023. The company claims that the target, set in collaboration with the federal government to transport approximately 80,000 trucks annually on the rolling highway, remains achievable.

With this resurgence, the focus now shifts to securing the future, ensuring the necessary conditions are in place by the end of 2028 to prevent a reversed shift to road traffic.

RAlpin has proposed to the federal government that the service be terminated by the end of 2028. By then, the conditions will be in place to enable a significant portion of the currently transported trucks on trains to transition to unaccompanied combined transportation (UCT). However, due to fiscal considerations, the Federal Council concluded in September 2022 to only extend the rolling highway until the end of 2026.

As a result, RAlpin expects there would be a capacity deficit of 180,000 shipments in the region west of Milan between 2026 and 2027. That is the reason RAlpin is lobbying for continuation of this service by 2028, when new infrastructure and assets will enable the transition to UCT.

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