7. Infrastructure and logistics






Full text


7. Infrastructure

and logistics

Punctuality, stability, reliability: three characteristics that define Switzerland’s infrastructure. Trains run on time, the infrastructure for telecommunications is top-notch and energy supplies are abundant. With excellent access to all major European countries, and thanks to a series of bilat-eral agreements, goods of Swiss origin can cross the bor-der to EU and EFTA countries duty-free (and vice versa).

Table of contents

7.1 Transportation 7.2 Telecommunications 7.3 Energy 7.4 Customs clearance 7.5 Customs duties 7.6 Free ports

(tax-free areas or bonded warehouses)

2-4 5 5 6 6 6 © Geneva tourism, (canton of Geneva)



Switzerland has one of the best developed and main-tained infrastructures in Europe; its dense network of freeways and railroads makes neighboring countries easy to reach. The main arteries all pass through the GREATER GENEVA BERNE area, such as the high-speed TGV to Paris, the ICE to Germany and the Cisalpino Pendolino to Milan. With international airports in Geneva and Berne, plus the additional airports of Basel and Zurich in close proximity, all major destinations are easily reached. More general information is available at the homepage of the Federal Office of Transport, www.bav.admin.ch and the Federal Roads Office, www.astra.admin.ch.

Road: Switzerland’s network of highways connects all parts of the country. In order to use the highways, every domes-tic and foreign motor vehicle up to 3.5 tons must have a

motorway sticker (currently SFr 40) which is valid for an entire calendar year and can be purchased at customs of-fices, post ofof-fices, filling stations and train stations.

Heavy goods vehicles are subject to a mileage-related heavy vehicle toll (MRHVT); the amount is also de-termined by the vehicle’s weight and its emissions category (Euro 0 – III). To travel in transit from Basel to Chiasso, a 40-ton truck haulier can expect to pay between SFr 265 and 325. Vehicles over 3.5 tons are not allowed to travel in Switzerland at night or on Sundays (exceptions can be granted by the cantonal authorities). Detailed information is available at the federal associa-tion of road transport, www.astag.ch.

Information on the highways in Switzerland is available at www.autobahnschweiz.ch and www.autobahnen.ch.

Porrentruy Delémont Biel/Bienne Neuchâtel Berne Fribourg Lausanne Yverdon La Chaux-de-Fonds Geneva Martigny Coire St-Gall Winterthur Zurich Lucerne Basel Sion Solothurn


Lugano Coire St-Gall Winterthur Zurich Lausanne Geneva Berne Paris Lyon Besançon Dijon Strasbourg SWITZERLAND FRANCE Interlaken Singen Berne Mannheim Freiburg Zurich Stuttgart SWITZERLAND FRANCE GERMANY Italy Coire St-Gall ITALY FRANCE SWITZERLAND Lausanne Geneva Milan Berne Stresa Brig Lugano Basel Zurich

Rail: Switzerland benefits from a dense, state-of-the-art network of railroads connecting Western Switzerland with the major Swiss cities, and also with neighboring France, Italy, Germany and Austria. The trains are world famous for their reliability and punctuality (97% are on time) and comfort. Direct international high-speed trains also play an important role:

TGV Switzerland – Paris Switzerland – Italy ICE Switzerland – Germany

Travel time by rail or road:

From Geneva Geneva Geneva Lausanne Lausanne Lausanne Berne Berne Geneva Lausanne Berne Fribourg Fribourg Berne To Lausanne Neuchâtel Berne Berne Fribourg Sion Fribourg Sion Zurich Zurich Zurich Zurich Geneva Basel Rail 30 minutes 1 hour 08 1 hour 41 1 hour 06 43 minutes 1 hour 02 20 minutes 1 hour 28 2 hours 42 2 hours 08 56 minutes 1 hour 24 1 hour 20 1 hour Road 1 hour 1 hour 30 2 hours 1 hour 1 hour 1 hour 30 20 minutes 1 hour 45 3 hours 30 2 hours 30 1 hour 30 1 hour 30 1 hour 15 1 hour

TGV for France (www.tgv-europe.ch) ICE for Germany (www.bahn.de) Swiss Federal Railways (www.sbb.ch) European rail travel (www.eurail.com)


Air: Five international airports are located in or in close proximity to the GREATER GENEVA BERNE area:

Geneva International Airport (Cointrin) offers a large number of flights to all continents. It is particularly well served by low-cost airlines such as easyJet, Baboo and Virgin. From Geneva, travelers have a choice of around 50 destinations, including all major European cities and New York (JFK), Newark and Doha, with regular flights departing at least five days per week. Cointrin is approxi-mately 45 minutes from Lausanne, 1 hour 15 minutes from Neuchâtel or Sion, and two hours from Berne. www.gva.ch

Basel’s EuroAirport, the preferred departure point for many frequent travelers, has excellent connections to approximately 30 European destinations, linking Basel with the main air hubs of Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Lon-don and Paris. EuroAirport is 1 hour 45 minutes from Neuchâtel and 1 hour 15 from Berne.


Zurich Airport, Switzerland’s most important air hub, can be reached in 90 minutes from Berne and in two hours from Neuchâtel or Fribourg.


Berne-BelpAirport, located close to the federal capital, Berne-Belp has daily flights to Munich and Paris - where you can continue to all major destinations in Europe, Asia and the USA - and numerous charter flights in the summer and winter vacation season.


In addition to these Swiss airports, Milan’s Malpensa Airport, linking northern Italy with the world, can be reached in 90 minutes from Brig in Valais.



The three major Swiss airports (Geneva, Zurich and Basel) are also connected by commuter flights. Thanks to direct train connections from Zurich Airport or Geneva Inter-national Airport, any destination in Switzerland can be reached easily and quickly.

In addition to Switzerland’s international airports, the re-gional airports offer ideal conditions for business flights (general aviation) and/or charter flights. International corporations are increasingly using short-notice busi-ness flights with private or pooled busibusi-ness jets to and from regional airports. These facilities are suitable also for smaller jets and are popular with business travelers who appreciate the hassle-free and speedy check-in and arrivals. The modern infrastructure of these airports is adapted for business travel, providing customs clearance or allowing authorized cross-border travel to persons from the Schengen area.

Berne-Belp Airport is also in high demand as a general aviation airport and hosts taxi airlines and charter planes.

Ecuvillens Airport is close to Fribourg. www.aerodrome-ecuvillens.ch

Lausanne Airport can accommodate all aircraft (single en-gine, twin engine and very light jet) capable of landing on runways 875 meters long and 23 meters wide.


Neuchâtel Airport is located by the lake, close to the city. The canton also has a second airport in the north of the region close to La-Chaux-de-Fonds. The airport, Les Eplatures, is the highest Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) international airport in Europe, and is the only perman-ently operated airport in the French-Swiss Jura moun-tains. It is a perfect link to hundreds of general aviation airports in Europe for private and business aviation. www.neuchatel-airport.ch


Payerne Airport (canton of Vaud) is an air force base which is also open to civil aviation.


Sion Airport is used by tourists and business travelers for its seasonal connections to selected European destinations. © Valais tourism / Sion Airport, (canton of Valais)



Modern and reliable telecommunications including cell phone networks, ISDN and other broadband connections ensure high-quality coverage. ISDN is available for more than 98% of telephone lines and is offered by 30 different suppliers. Mobile network coverage is high in all regions despite the country’s challenging topography. Swisscom (www.swisscom.ch) is no longer the sole provider of tele-communications services (see also www.orange.ch) and, as a result, there has been significant price competition and a sharp increase in capacity over the last decade.

Extensive information on regulations and the telecom-munication market is available from the Federal Office of Communication (www.bakom.ch).


The distribution of energy across the GGBa is outstanding. The reliability and stability of the power network is note-worthy, thanks to its dense and decentralized coverage with various types of power plant. At the same time, natu-ral gas (www.erdgas.ch or www.gaz-naturel.ch), oil (www. erdoel-vereinigung.ch or www.swissoil.ch) and other en-ergy sources are available throughout the GGBa at com-petitive prices.

Switzerland’s energy needs are covered by a dense, decen-tralized network of various types of power plant. Its inte-gration into the European network ensures that supply is guaranteed, even during periods of particularly high power consumption.

Two leading utilities and traders - Alpiq (www.alpic.ch) and BKW FMB Energy (www.bkw-fmb.ch) - supply elec-tricity to 2.5 million people in Western and North-West-ern Switzerland. Alpiq and BKW are active in hydro-electric and nuclear power, high voltage and very high voltage transmission. BKW FMB is also a market leader in sustainable energy production, such as solar and wind power. Further important energy providers for the re-gion are Romande Energie (www.romande-energie.ch) and Groupe E (www.groupe-e.ch).

With the liberalization of the market, large customers like industrial companies and data centers may negotiate their tariffs with any energy provider and do not have to pur-chase electricity from the service provider in their area. The federal government and some cantonal and munici-pal governments have recently rolled out special sustain-able energy projects. These programs promote research and development into sustainable energy production (solar, hydroelectric, wind) as well as the installation and use of such energy systems. For example, the installation of solar panels on commercial and industrial buildings is increasingly popular.

Swiss Federal Office of Energy: www.energie-schweiz.ch

Association of energy providers in Switzerland: www.energie-energy.ch


7. Infrastructure and logistics / p.6 7.6 FREE PORTS


As a region with significant exports, the GGBa has a number of efficient, tax-free areas and bonded ware-houses. These facilities are logistics service centers where goods can be stored, packaged, rearranged in different sizes, labeled and shipped with no taxes or fees and with customs-exempt entry into and departure from the area. Additionally the tax-free areas usually also provide ser-vices such as logistics consulting, import-export, customs agencies, management and storage, consignment, air/ maritime freight, road/rail transportation.

Bonded warehouse locations: • Berne: www.kehrlioeler.ch • Boncourt: www.actiparc.ch • Geneva: www.geneva-freeports.ch

• Lausanne-Chavornay: www.pesa-chavornay.ch • Neuchâtel and Le Locle: www.tremail.ch • Martigny: www.port-franc-martigny.ch • Vevey: www.sev-port-franc.ch

For logistics support, visit www.logistikplattform.ch


As a result of the country’s geographic location and tra-dition of importing and exporting goods, clearing cus-toms in Switzerland is quick and efficient; the process is also made much smoother thanks to bilateral agree-ments relating to the free movement of goods between Switzerland, the EU and the EFTA.

Swiss export risk insurance (information on Swiss origin): www.serv-ch.com

www.osec.ch (an investor guide is available)


Free trade agreements mean that imports and exports of industrial products are basically exempt from customs and quota restrictions. But customs clearance is still re-quired, though it is particularly simplified, according to TEI-90 procedures.

In contrast to most countries, a duty system based on weight is applied to products from countries that are not members of the EU or EFTA. For this reason, the rates in Switzerland are generally lower than in other countries. This favors the importation of high-quality goods, which have a low weight but a high value.

Pursuant to sections 9-16, Swiss Ordinance of the Certifica-tion of Non-Preferential Origin of Goods, goods are consid-ered of Swiss origin if they are made of domestic materials or are manufactured entirely in Switzerland, or are processed or finished in Switzerland to a sufficient extent. Products are considered processed or finished in Switzerland to a suffi-cient extent if the foreign materials they contain account for no more than 50% of the ex-factory price.

Custom duties: www.ezv.admin.ch

© Geneva Economic Development Office / Photographers: Benoît Chantre, Sébastien Fasel

10789_FRM logo bloc SECO:Mise en page 1 18.02.09 09:31 Page1

GREATER GENEVA BERNE area is supported by the cantons of Bern, Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Geneva, Valais and Jura and by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

GREATER GENEVA BERNE area is an initiative of the cantons of Berne, Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Geneva and Valais

GREATER GENEVA BERNE area is an initiative of the cantons of Berne, Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Geneva and Valais

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Avenue de Gratta-Paille 2 PO Box 252 1000 Lausanne 22 Tel. +41 21 644 00 90 Fax +41 21 644 00 99 info@ggba-switzerland.ch www.ggba-switzerland.ch





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