Safeguarding Swiss transport policy in the European context
The Land Transport Agreement is one of seven Bilateral Agreements that Switzerland concluded with the EU in 1999. It allowed Switzerland to secure long-term transport collaboration with the EU, and to enshrine the Swiss modal shift policy in the European context. Following a clear approval by the voting population of the “Bilaterals I”, it came into force on 1 June 2002.
The key aspect of the Land Transport Agreement is the acknowledgement by the EU of the heavy goods vehicle charge (HGVC), so that Switzerland can 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.