Goods transport by air, water and pipeline
In 2022, a total of 366 384 tonnes of freight and post were handled at Swiss airports by scheduled and charter operators. This total volume has increased by 7% compared to 2021 but remains 21% below the level recorded in 2019, the pre-covid year. In 2022, freight tonnage remained clearly dominant with a share of 97%. 71% of air freight and 80% of postal transport were handled by Zurich airport.
Between 2000 and 2002, freight traffic had already fallen sharply as a result of Swissair’s bankruptcy. But it had picked up again until the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Switzerland, freight transported by water is mostly limited to Rhine shipping. Its importance for Swiss foreign trade should not be underestimated, despite the fact that it has declined considerably in recent decades. In 2021, the Swiss Rhine Ports handled 5.4 million tonnes of goods, i.e. roughly 8% of all Swiss imports and exports. In 2021, the principle goods handled in Rhine shipping were crude oil and petroleum products, followed by stones, soils and construction materials.
For the import of crude oil and petroleum products, pipelines are also important. In 2021, 34% (2.9 million tonnes) of the above goods were imported via pipeline into Switzerland. 80% of this was crude oil, which was pumped through the Jura Neuchâtel pipeline to the refinery in Cressier (Canton of Neuchâtel).