Hupac - pioneer in combined transport

Five pioneers, one vision
Hupac was founded to meet a genuine market need for safe, reliable traffic across the Alps. At that time, the Gotthard road tunnel did not yet exist, and trucks had to struggle over the pass, which in winter often had to be closed. Business boomed, but the difficult passage over the Alps increasingly impeded the trans-European flow of goods. In 1967, innovative hauliers together with the SBB founded Hupac Ltd with the objective of combining road and rail in a sensible way. Theo Allemann, the long-year director of Hupac, points out: "Intermodal transalpine traffic through Switzerland – at that time it was a really futuristic vision."


Five pioneers were the godparents when Hupac was founded on 1. March 1967 in Chiasso: the transport companies Bertschi and F.lli Bernasconi, the haulage contractors Danzas and Jacky Maeder and Swiss railways SBB. One year later the company began operating with 10 of its own wagons, constructed by Ferriere Cattaneo in Giubiasco. This was the first time that road hauliers invested in railway wagons.

International network

The first Hupac trains ran between Basel and Melide near Lugano. In 1969 the young company extended the traffic to Cologne and Milan, connections to Rotterdam, Hamburg, Singen and other destinations followed. In 1992 Hupac started organising shuttle trains between the Busto Arsizio terminal north-west of Milan and Cologne: entire trains with an unchanged stock of wagons, under contract to, and at the risk of, the combined transport operator, shuttled between the two end stations.


As a further development, in 1993 Hupac introduced what is known as Gateway traffic in Busto Arsizio. This means that arriving consignments are forwarded by other trains, by unloading and reloading from wagon to wagon. This means that peripheral business areas which do not justify a daily entire train can be attached to the shuttle network without the need for shunting. Today Hupac's Shuttle Net counts 100 trains daily with destinations with destinations from Scandinavia to southern Italy, from Spain to Russia, from the Netherlands to Romania.

Milestones in the company's history


Hupac Ltd was established in Chiasso. The initial share capital was equal to 500,000 Swiss Francs; the first Chairman of the Board of Directors was Pietro Ris.


Hupac started its activity with 10 wagons between Basel and Melide. Management was entrusted to Theo Allemann, the company’s historical manager for more than 30 years.


Hupac carried out the first international combined transport with its own wagons on the Cologne-Milan Rogoredo stretch.


Hupac entered into a service agreement with the German combined transport operator Kombiverkehr, for a better integration of the traffic in Northern Europe.


The international activity of Hupac expanded considerably with the opening of the Milan-Rotterdam axis, which followed up an agreement with the Dutch company Trailstar. During the same year, the Italian branch of Hupac SpA was established; it assures the management of the terminal activity in Italy.


Rolling Highway was added to unaccompanied traffic on the Altdorf-Cadenazzo stretch, which transports motor vehicles with drivers from one side to the other of the Alps.


Transport activities started to be transferred to the Busto Arsizio terminal, which later became the main Hupac transfer centre in Italy.


The Rolling Highway became international with a connection between Milano Greco Pirelli and Freiburg i. B.


The cooperation between Cemat and Hupac led to a strong traffic development in Italy.


Termi Ltd was established in Chiasso with the task of designing and building new intermodal terminals.


The first shuttle train started running between Cologne and Busto Arsizio: an innovation destined to revolutionize the characteristics of the Hupac transport services.


The new terminal of Busto Arsizio II was opened in the presence of minister Adolf Ogi.


The whole Hupac Group attained the QMS certification according to ISO 9002 as a result of the introduction of more advanced procedures.


Thanks to the innovative Shuttle system, Hupac was awarded the European Transport Prize. During the same year, the terminal of Singen was opened and Fidia, the management company of the Oleggio terminal, became part of the Hupac Group.


Hupac's Environmental Management System also attained the ISO 14001 certification.


Hupac took over the Dutch company Trailstar (later to become Hupac Intermodal NV) and expanded the connections on the Holland-Italy axis.


Hupac opened in Basle the Maritime Inland Services branch to develop the maritime traffic. During the same year, Hupac acquired the railway licence in Germany.


Hupac, SBB, BLS and Trenitalia established the RAlpin company for managing the Rolling Highway between Freiburg i. B. and Novara via Lötschberg/Simplon. During the same year, Hupac acquired the railway licence in Italy.


Following a bidding procedure, Hupac assigns traction of its trains to five rail companies that provide integrated traction, that is, a single carrier responsible from the beginning to the end.


The new terminal of Busto Arsizio-Galla­rate was opened. It doubled the transfer capacity. Special guests were the ministers Moritz Leuenberger and Pietro Lunardi.


The Hupac Intermodal BVBA was established in Antwerp, with the task of terminal engineering and management.


Hupac celebrates 40 years of activity and orders 350 flat wagons and 50 pocket wagons. First traffics via Brenner and in France.


Order placed for 250 pocket wagons and 50 flat wagons and first traffics to Russia. Nicolas Perrin and Nils Planzer are elected to the Board of Directors of Hupac Ltd. Start of construction of the HTA Hupac Terminal Antwerp.


Hupac establishes the Fleet Management division and start the first traffics to Romania. Switch to electronic booking via web and Ediges.


The terminals HTA Hupac Terminal Antwerp and Combinant (BASF, Hupac, IFB) start operations in Antwerp. The company’s own rolling stock workshop is opened at the Busto Arsizio-Gallarate terminal. During the same year, Hupac is certified as an ECM – Entity in Charge of Maintenance.


Hupac Ltd took a share of 25% in SBB Cargo International AG. The Russian subsidiary Intermodal Express is opened in Moscow.


FSI, FS Logistica, Cemat and Hupac signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of terminal capacity in northern Italy. A wheel set reconditioning facility is opened in Busto Arsizio. During the same year, Hupac took over Centro Intermodale SpA, Milan, which manages the Piacenza terminal.


Hupac starts a cooperation with Green Cargo for transport connections in Sweden. Renovates the certification of the quality and environment management system. Re-certification of Hupac as Entity in Charge of Maintenance (ECM), can be said as a pioneer since it has already been certified in 2010 according to MoU. Hupac orders 100 freight wagons for the Russian broad gauge and 50 T3000 pocket wagons.


Establishment of Hupac LLC, Moscow, primarily for the procurement and leasing of rolling

Stock. Hupac establishes a new “Company Shuttle” business unit to market dedicated company trains and orders 100 flat wagons and 100 T3000 pocket wagons.


Hupac establishes the Hupac Terminal Brwinów Sp. z o. O. for the construction and planning of a terminal close to Warszawa. Order placed for 200 pocket wagons and 200 90-feet wagons.


Hupac International Logistics (Shanghai) Co. was established to develop the traffic between Europe and China , as well as Hupac Maritime Logistics GmbH for coordinating maritime hinterland transport. Hupac orders 260 flat wagons.


Hupac celebrates 50 years of activity.


Hupac acquires ERS Railways and significantly expands the network for maritime inland transport from the North Sea Ports.

2019Hupac starts managing the Pordenone Terminal and equips all its trains with GPS sensors for tracking & tracing.

Hupac defies the COVID pandemic and maintains the operation of its transport network. Michail Stahlhut becomes the new CEO of the Hupac Group.


Hupac develops the Strategy 2022-2026 for the further enhancement of the capacity and attractiveness of the intermodal system. The subsidiary Combiconnect Srl takes over the management of the Terminal Novara CIM. For the first time, Hupac orders and operates its own train paths as an access party.


Hupac wins the tender for the operation of the Köln Nord terminal. The new terminal in Brwinów near Warsaw is opened. Hupac and other partners found DX Intermodal GmbH, which operates a data platform for the entire value chain of intermodal transport.