Swiss intermodal operator Hupac blamed a weak European economy, periodic closures of the trans-Alpine Gotthard tunnel and increased competition from trucks for traffic slumping 10.7 percent in 2012.
The number of truck trailers and swap bodies fell to 646,214 units from 723,897 units in 2011. Traffic on trans-Alpine routes, Hupac’s main market, declined 11.1 percent to 428,517 units, while traffic between north European ports and Switzerland was broadly unchanged.
The Chiasso-based company said it was particularly hard hit by lower demand in Italy, one of its main markets.
Landslides closed the Gotthard tunnel for 40 days in March, June and November, resulting in a loss of 6 percent in volume. The company said it has not fully recovered the business lost to trucks during the closures.
Hupac, which operates 110 trains a day, was downbeat about prospects in the current year, after reducing its wagon fleet and adjusting terminal capacities.
”Volatile markets are the new normal,” Managing Director Bernhard Kunz said. “The transport market is under a great deal of pressure. We are cautious in our forecasts for 2013.”