The Alp country's cargo players urge their politicians to recognize the superior role air freight plays for the economic and social well-being of the state. The time is ripe for setting up a master plan to end the era of negligence and take forward-driving steps to better the conditions for this vital industry. This is the core message of a 50 page catalogue and list of demands presented by the Zurich-based Interest Group Air Cargo Switzerland together with a 55 page collection of facts and data, addressed to the members of the national parliament and the Swiss government.
Yes, air freight exists in Switzerland - daily, efficiently and quietly. But this industry, comparable to general perceptions in Germany or Austria, lacks the backing of most voters. So why
bother about a biz that is more or less functioning well but is not a field for politicians to add to their merits?
This lack of importance, partially homemade, is the main cause why Switzerland's cargo industry is nothing but a fifth wheel on the political wagon. And maybe even less than that!
At least up to now. In future things have to change, the faster the better, urges the Zurich-based Interest Group Air Cargo Switzerland (IG Air Cargo). If not, the national economy will fall behind international competition - slowly but steadily.
In their paper the organization reminds the Swiss government of the exceptional importance of this sector. Shipments worth two trillion Swiss Francs are annually transported by air, with increasing tendency.
In the near future this trend will even accelerate due to the fast growing number of online shoppers. Many of them demand their purchases to be delivered the fastest possible way. By doing so they opt automatically in many cases for air freight transport, without necessarily knowing where the goods come from and how they are forwarded.
While the online shopping trend is fairly new, traditional Swiss industries like the country's highly important pharmaceutical, medical, banking sector or IT industry would fall behind without tailored cargo solutions accepted and supported by complementing infrastructural decisions taken by the government, warns IG Air Cargo. In case this does not happen, most economic sectors would be massively affected, which costs jobs and leads to a general demise of Switzerland's industry.
So what has to be changed, sooner, than later?
The general night curfew for trucks driving within Switzerland should be abolished, demands the organization. This ban has an immense negative impact on the economy in general and the cargo industry specifically, claim the authors of the paper. However, they well know how tricky this subject is since the large majority of Swiss people support the ban on trucks at night.
IG Air Cargo also opposes further restrictions of air traffic, be it the expansion of night flights, bureaucratic over-regulation or additional charges on air traffic. One of the organization's key issues addressed to the government is their demand to ensure the development of the ground infrastructure to give the industry the necessary requirements for further development. This is not understood as quantitative growth but is seen as a sustainable program concentrating on value added services, the enhancement of ground handling processes and the improvement of the supply chain, and simplification of customs clearing processes.
These topics together with some other demands and suggestions made by IG Air Cargo on behalf of the entire air freight sector in Switzerland should become part of a master plan with clearly defined priorities and be approved by Switzerland's politicians, this is the organization's key target.
It remains to be seen how Switzerland's lawmakers will react after receiving IG Air Cargo's 50 page paper.