About one third of BLS Cargo’s turnover is generated from traffic travelling to and from Belgium. It has been working closely with Crossrail for the past two years, mainly in services through Germany on the east bank of the Rhine, where Crossrail has been providing the traction on BLS Cargo’s behalf, as well as in Belgium itself.

The acquisition will significantly strengthen BLS Cargo’s position on the Belgium - Germany - Switzerland - Italy north-south freight corridor, giving it long-term access to transport services in Belgium and Germany.

Both companies have a lean management structure, as BLS Cargo CEO Mr Dirk Stahl points out. “As a freight corridor service provider, Crossrail is very similar to BLS Cargo, and we are also a perfect match geographically,” Stahl says. “This acquisition means we can improve our position on the north-south corridor even further, as well as safeguarding and expanding our important links to the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge.”

Crossrail was originally founded in Switzerland in 2004 to carry unaccompanied freight units on the transalpine route between Germany, Switzerland and Italy on the Lötschberg - Simplon route, and has seen a number of changes in ownership since then. It currently has 180 staff and has an annual turnover of €70m.