Parcel transportation goes underground in Switzerland

Pieter Kinds

Pieter Kinds

February 17, 2016 - 09:48

The future of parcel transportation is on the verge of crossing over into a new century. Cargo Sous Terrain (CST) has major plans to develop a $3.4 billion worth innovative underground freight transport system in Switzerland.

The idea is to build tunnels, 50 metres under the ground, where autonomous vehicles will transport pallets and packages between major cities and towns in the Central-European country. The initial project focuses on the Zurich area, but should eventually be rolled-out in other parts of Switzerland. CTS hopes to have the project up and running by 2030.

Parcel freight forecast

The foundation, that exists of companies and institutions as IG DHS, Swisscomm, Swiss Post and the Zürich civil engineering office, intends to construct a 70-kilometer tunnel between the Härkingen/Niederbipp region and Zurich that should be ready for use in 2030. CST released a press statement saying:

"Given the freight forecasts, which could expect an increase of 45% between 2010 and 2030, solutions for getting a hold on the increasing traffic volume are a real concern in the interests of the economy and the whole society."

Proposed vehicles for the tunnels. Photo: CST The current transport system in the country is according to the expectations of the group unable to handle such a transportation increase without bottlenecks in the road and rail system. The decision to go ahead follows a feasibility study conducted in 2014-15, with support from the federal office of transport.

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Cargo sous terrain - Erklärung System

The underground cargo tunnels are planned as part of a transport logistics system while reducing the need for storage space, as well as helping the environment by cutting carbon dioxide emissions. The group is currently searching investors with contributions ranging from 10,000 francs to 300,000 francs and above, according to its website. Daniel Wiener, head of investor relations for CST, foresees great possibilities and moreover, a chance of exporting the innovation abroad: "The project has met with great interest - even with insurance and pension groups," he told Tages Anzeiger newspaper.

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