SBB Cargo expects volumes to reach several thousand trainloads per year on two routes, Basle/Singen – Gallarate/Chiasso via the Gotthard line, and Basle – Domodossola via the Lötschberg and Simplon lines.

"We are very pleased that DB Schenker has decided to put their business in our hands and are confident we can provide a good service," says Mr Nicholas Perrin, CEO of SBB Cargo.

Despite achieving strong growth and profitability since it was first established 12 years ago, BLS Cargo is now struggling to break even in the face of problems caused by the strong Swiss franc. In a statement issued on April 2, the company announces that it has decided to cut back its network, abandoning loss-making services and focussing on returning to profit.

"We have to finance ourselves, so we have to work with an eye to making a profit," says CEO Mr Dirk Stahl. "This will entail staff cuts and efforts to compensate for part of the lost business with new services and clients."

BLS Cargo and DB Schenker are now in talks over the future shape of their partnership.