The Land Transport Agreement secures Switzerland’s long-term transport collaboration with the EU and enshrines the Swiss modal shift policy in the European context. It is one of seven Bilateral Agreements that Switzerland concluded with the EU in 1999 (“Bilaterals I”).
A key aspect of the Land Transport Agreement is the acknowledgement by the EU of the heavy goods vehicle charge (HGVC). This allows Switzerland to charge CHF 325 for a lorry journey from frontier to frontier. The Agreement also secures the ban on lorries driving at night and on Sundays. In return, Switzerland admits 40 tonnes lorries, which increases the efficiency of road transport. Switzerland thus achieved a coordinated policy to protect the Alpine area, and EU acknowledgement of the modal shift, which Swiss voters had demanded. The Agreement is closely linked to the Alpine Initiative, which voters approved in 1994.
The Land Transport Agreement also brings advantages for the Swiss road haulage industry: the hauliers gained access to the EU market and the possibility of carrying out cabotage between EU Member States, such as transporting goods from Germany to France. On the other hand, the Swiss market remains protected from cabotage through foreign hauliers. For example, the Land Transport Agreement excludes shipments being carried from Zurich to Lausanne using a German lorry.
As leading agency, the FOT represents Switzerland in dealing with the EU in implementing and further developing the Land Transport Agreement.