Overall traffic declined to 3.3 billion tonne-km, with traffic on its main Lötschberg/Simplon route falling 10% to 1.93 billion tonne-km and 22% on the Gotthard line to 1.25 billion tonne-km.

The drop was mainly due to a total suspension of service for several weeks on the Gotthard route following a rock fall, and a three-week hiatus on the Lötschberg/Simplon route due to refurbishment of the Simplon Tunnel. Traffic on the latter route could not be diverted to the Gotthard because of loading gauge restrictions.

Despite the poor performance on the key trans-alpine routes, it was a good year for domestic block volumes as new business boosted traffic 65% to 134.8 million tonne-km.

BLS Cargo recorded a loss of SFr 1.85m ($US 1.95m) compared with a deficit of SFr 483,000 in 2011. Revenues fell from SFr 179.4m to SFr 169.5m, while Ebit dropped from SFr 4.2m to -SFr 1.9m.

The reversal of the upward trend recorded in 2011 is attributed partly to the continued weak economy in EU countries, especially Italy, despite the company's efforts to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The strong Swiss Franc continues to be a challenge, according to CEO Mr Dirk Stahl: "We focus consistently on profitability but we've been unable to completely compensate for the outside influence of the last four years," he says.

BLS Cargo is the market leader in Alpine transit freight through Switzerland, largely based on international partnerships, especially with DB Schenker Rail, which owns a 45% stake in the company.