News & Media
Intermodal Forum, Lugano 26 May 2023

"Moving together to stop reverse modal shift"

Hupac has once again held its annual Intermodal Forum in Lugano, with more than 200 guests from some 15 European countries and many high-level speakers representing shippers, logistics service providers, intermodal operators, terminals, rail operators, politics and institutions.


The aim of the event was to highlight the requirements for intermodal transport in the current context of global instability. Particular emphasis was placed on infrastructure investment, performance of transport services and international integration in the context of the European climate targets.


The highlights from the speech of Michail Stahlhut, CEO of Hupac Group:


“Intermodal transport is currently facing stagnation. Like many others in the intermodal sector, Hupac is not growing as expected, and in some cases we are not able to provide the high quality and reliability that our customers rightly expect.


This is not the first difficult moment in our 60-year history. However, we are now facing an unprecedented number of negative external factors:

  • Energy-intensive sectors such as steel, chemicals and paper are under pressure from high energy costs in Europe. The decline in these rail-related transports leads to a reduction in the base load of combined transport, with negative consequences for the whole network.
  • A second factor is the high energy and rail costs resulting from the war in Ukraine.
  • A third and relevant point is the critical situation on the rail network with bottlenecks and construction works especially in Germany.
  • The fourth factor is the consequently declining quality of rail services, which has a huge international impact (special thanks to Michael Theurer and Philipp Nagl for being here today and sharing their insights).
  • On top of that, we are experiencing strong competitive pressure from road transport.

All these factors combine to create a toxic cocktail that requires urgent action from all of us.


What can we do to stop reverse modal shift?

What does it take for combined transport to contribute to our climate goals?


Let's think about it today:

  • A task force to support cross-border rail planning and operations for long-distance intermodal trains on the Rhine-Alpine corridor.
  • Investment in reserves and buffers for contingency management by all players in the intermodal value chain, from parking sidings to extra locos, from wagon sets to 24/7 traffic control teams.
  • A helping hand from the transport ministries to overcome the current crisis: Swiss operating subsidies, Klimabonus, Ferrobonus etc. are the key words.
  • And last but not least, let’s have a commitment from the sector to adopt the state-of-the-art data transparency solution that Hupac has helped to develop.

First of all, we need a stable and reliable rail network. We will continue to advocate for stability on the north-south corridor as a prerequisite for modal shift. For example, we support a redundant line via France to overcome the reliability bottleneck in the Rhine Valley.


At Hupac, we continue to invest in quality, capacity and growth in line with our Strategy 2026 presented last year. We commissioned our Brwinów terminal near Warsaw in November 2022 and will soon have new relevant terminal capacities with the modernization of Novara CIM terminal and the construction of Milano Smistamento and Piacenza terminals together with RFI. We continue to develop the network, with new solutions on the Rhine-Alpine corridor and on new markets such as inland waterway transport and emerging regions in Europe.


Step by step we are going the intermodal way, together with our customers, partners and the relevant political institutions.”



Director Communications & Marketing
Hupac Intermodal SA
Viale R. Manzoni 6
CH-6830 Chiasso
+41 58 8558020