SBB Cargo locomotive.

SWITZERLAND: Strong interest in SBB Cargo was evident when bids to work in partnership with the freight operator closed. As many as 25 organisations had submitted expressions of interest by September 22, and 14 of these had handed in firm offers by the October 15 deadline.

Head of SBB Cargo Nicolas Perrin confirmed that discussions were in hand with DB and SNCF, while BLS was among other operators mentioned. All forms of co-operation are envisaged, although an outright sale has been ruled out by the Swiss government.

SBB is seeking partners in both the international and domestic markets, and most bids were for the international business. Some bids included proposals to partner SBB Cargo in maintenance of wagons and locomotives as well as in operations.

The bids are now being assessed ahead of detailed negotiations, and SBB Cargo plans to announce its decision during the first half of 2009.