• Port of Switzerland

Worldwide connected

Significance

The Port of Switzerland is the most important traffic hub in the country. Between 10 and 12 per cent of all imported goods reach the country through the ports. In the area of petroleum products the proportion is even higher: every third to fourth litre of petrol, diesel or heating oil arrives in Switzerland on inland vessels. The Rhine is Switzerland’s only direct connection to the ocean. This is secured by international treaties as a matter of international law.

Transporting goods by water is a particularly eco-friendly means of transport. A tonne of cargo can be transported 500 km using the energy from just five litres of diesel oil, whereas a train would only transport that tonne 333 kilometres and a truck as little as 100 kilometres. Fuel consumption, and therefore emissions from fuel consumption, are the lowest by far of any means of transport. This is largely due to the fact that large volumes of cargo can be transported in large transport containers on inland vessels.

Last but not least, safety is a very important argument in favour of barge transport. Most barges are equipped with radio and radar, thus enabling them to sail on schedule in practically any weather, day and night. Double-hulled vessels are increasingly used for transporting hazardous materials, minimising the risk of liquids or other hazardous materials escaping. There is a well-developed system of alarms, rescue procedures and assistance in place to prevent incidents, enabling action to be taken very rapidly. In contrast to other modes of transportation, capacity bottlenecks and traffic jams occur very rarely on the Rhine. The risk of accidents is therefore considerably lower than with other modes of transport. Since the captain and crew are aboard at all times, both the vessel and its cargo are monitored round the clock and are therefore well protected against theft and vandalism.