Goods transport by air, water and pipeline


In 2019, a total of 462 789 tonnes of freight and post were handled at Swiss airports by scheduled and charter operators. Freight tonnage clearly dominated with a share of 93%. Having sharply declined between 2000 and 2002 as a result of Swissair’s bankruptcy, it has picked up again. In 2019, 76% of air freight and 86% of postal transport were handled by Zurich airport.

Air freight and post by scheduled and charter operators, 2019
  Freight Post
Handling at Swiss airports1, in tonnes 432 144 30 645
Percentage change from 2000 –13 –6
Percentage share of individual airports2
Zurich 76 86
Geneva 10 14
Basel-Mulhouse3 14 0.04
Total 100 100
1) incoming and outgoing traffic
2) regional airports insignificant
3) Swiss and French traffic
Source: FSO, FOCA – Aviation, scheduled and charter flights (AVIA_LC)


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 2018, the Swiss Rhine Ports handled 4.7 million tonnes of goods, i.e. roughly 7% of all Swiss imports and exports. In 2018, the principle goods handled in Rhine shipping were crude oil and petroleum products, followed by stones, soils and construction materials.

Freight shipping on the River Rhine, 2018
  Imports Exports
Total handling at Swiss Rhine ports, in tonnes 3 768 445 1 061 023
Percentage change from 2000 –51 +4
Percentage share of individual commodity groups
Crude oil and petroleum products 46 7
Stones, soils and construction materials 19 26
Food, feed and agricultural produce 16 13
Chemical products and fertiliser 7 13
Metals, ores and metal waste 5 14
Vehicles and machinery 3 14
Other 4 14
Total 100 100
Source: Swiss ports – Freight transport on the Rhine

Oil pipelines

For the import of crude oil and petroleum products, pipelines are also important. In 2018, 39% (3.9 million tonnes) of the above goods were imported via pipeline into Switzerland. Three-quarters of this was crude oil, which was pumped through the Jura Neuchâtel pipeline to the refinery in Cressier (Canton of Neuchâtel).

Oil imports via pipeline, 2018
Total imports, in tonnes 3 924 079
Percentage change from 2010 –241
Percentage share of Jura Neuchâtel pipeline2 77
Percentage share of Sappro pipeline3 (Geneva) 23
1) Decline due to closure of Collombey refinery (Canton of Valais) 2015
2) Crude oil
3) Petroleum products: Petrol, kerosene, heating and diesel oil
Source: Avenergy Suisse – Annual report

Further information


Statistical sources and concepts


Federal Statistical Office Section Mobility
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel
+41 58 463 64 68

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