Switzerland’s national railway company Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), is buying back the 35% stake in the rail freight carrier SBB Cargo from minority shareholder Swiss Combi.

Financial details of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Swiss Combi is owned by four freight logistics service providers: Planzer Holding (40%), Camion Transport (40%), Bertschi (10%) and Galliker Holding (10%).

The group originally bought the minority stake in the Swiss rail freight operator in 2019, with the deal approved by authorities in 2020.

SBB says the move supports its ambitions to grow rail freight and to manage freight activities at a group level from a single point, reinforcing its Swiss Cargo Logistics concept, which launched in 2022.

The plan aims to increase freight traffic in Switzerland by 60% by 2050, as well as adding five terminals for combined transport between Geneva and St Gallen to the freight network.

Alongside the deal, the current head of SBB Real Estate Alexander Muhm has been appointed as the new member of the Group Executive Board responsible for freight transport at SBB. He replaces the outgoing Désirée Baer, ​​who had been managing SBB Cargo since 2020.

Following the reacquisition by SBB, Swiss Combi will now act as a strategic partner to the SBB subsidiary SBB Cargo.

According to SBB Cargo, the current freight environment requires a “clear separation” of shareholder and customer roles.

As such, the two parties agreed to change the shareholder relationship to that of a strategic partner. The shift, however, is still subject to regulatory approval.

SBB Cargo has confirmed that it is open to the possibility of further strategic partnerships with other important customers in the rail freight sector.