Work begins on Cargo Sous Terrain – how Switzerland is putting logistics underground

The demand for goods in our society will continue to increase in the coming years. This development will also be accompanied by a new need for logistics solutions. But can the overcrowded roads cope with even more trucks and vans? In Switzerland, an alternative solution was presented in 2016 that is now apparently becoming a reality: Cargo Sous Terrain.



You can already read it from the name, the Swiss want to move their logistical processes underground. The development works in a similar way to an automatic conveyor system. In underground tunnels, autonomous transport vehicles travel back and forth around continuously, able to automatically pick up loads from defined ramps and elevators and also deliver them there again.

The vehicles, which are continuously loaded by the induction tracks, travel at 30 km/h in the three-track tunnels and can transport pallets or containers. Appropriate cooling systems also allow perishable goods to be transported. For small goods, there is also a section above the tracks, which is intended exclusively for parcels and the like. Switzerland is also somewhat bucking the trend of hyperloops with this development, saying that underground tunnels are much better suited for freight transport, rather than just passenger transport, as they need to be narrower and less comfortable for logistical tasks. This saves tremendous money and helps the facility operate as leanly as possible.

To make the vision a reality, the entire 500-kilometer network is estimated to cost $30 billion to $35 billion. For the start and the pilot phase, however, it is initially calculated at $3 billion for a link from Zurich to Härkingen-Niederbipp. The 70-kilometer line is intended to iron out the first teething troubles and test the system.

Following the decision to launch the project, more and more Swiss cantons are now pricking up their ears and want to get involved, as they consider Cargo Sous Terrain to be an economically and technically viable investment that will also pay off in the long term.


Image and video: Cargo Sous Terrain

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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