Route closures and construction activity in Germany slow down Hupac's combined transport

Route closures and construction activity in Germany slow down Hupac's combined transport

Swiss combined transport operator Hupac has stated in its half-yearly report that despite lively demand, traffic in the first half of 2022 stagnated at the previous year's level with an increase of 1%. A negative impact had construction activity in Germany in April and June.

Hupac transported 575,000 road shipments in the first half of 2022, up 1% compared to the same period last year. After a lively development in the first quarter, with monthly growth rates in the high single digits, traffic slumped in April and June. This was due to route closures and capacity constraints as a result of intensive construction activity on the Rhine-Alpine corridor. Especially the segment of transalpine transport via Switzerland was affected. "In the north-south corridor, we were not able to achieve our set growth targets," explains Michail Stahlhut, CEO of the Hupac Group. "On the other hand, traffic in the north-east and south-east corridors developed positively. Traffic in Spain remained below expectations due to capacity bottlenecks.”

Hupac wants to counter the ongoing difficult situation on the railway network in Germany with a ten-point "Contingency & Resilience" programme, which was presented at the General Assembly in May 2022. "Our response to the capacity restrictions caused by construction activity on the network are investments in reserves and emergency measures," commented Michail Stahlhut.

The first measures have already been implemented. By the end of the year, the wagon fleet will be significantly expanded by the purchase and lease of almost 900 more modules. A large number of these wagons serve as a reserve for use in the event of irregularities and can thus contribute to a more stable transport service. Hupac is also focusing on high-performance rail partners - deepens cooperation with SBB Cargo International and works to secure additional drivers to represent Hupac in the event of breakdowns.

However, Hupac's main concern is to secure sufficient capacity on the railway network. In the coming years, the focus must be increasingly on planning for capacity savings and efficient diversion routes in the case of construction works. A negative experience in recent months has shown that time-sensitive intermodal services need full capacity on train routes every week, even during construction measures, to avoid supply problems. Major problems can be caused by the extensive corridor reconstruction on the German rail network planned for 2024. This can be prevented by improving international coordination of construction sites along entire corridors and in some cases by upgrading diversionary routes. A short-term switch to pure road transport is only possible to a small extent for combined transport customers.

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