Logistics in Basel

In addition to the life sciences and financial sector, logistics is a key industry in the Canton of Basel-Stadt. This sector benefits from the excellent conditions and infrastructure offered by the location of the region and, as a consequence, has grown significantly over the years.

Logistics in the Basel region

Basel and the surrounding area do not just represent the most important logistics site in Switzerland, but also the only Swiss site that is of importance throughout Europe. It is known for its extremely high efficiency in the business of handling, which has been made possible in part thanks to its extensive infrastructure.

Around 18,000 people currently work in the region’s logistics industry. Nearly 500 apprentices are trained in this sector every year. These figures illustrate the essential role that the industry is playing. In addition to the important advantage of its prime location (right on the border with Germany and France), the region of Basel also benefits from Switzerland’s strong focus on foreign trade.

Basel is located in the European freight corridor and as a traffic junction, it can be quickly reached both by rail and road. A total of 20 million tonnes of economic goods are imported or exported via Basel and its surrounding area every year. This corresponds to around 30% of Swiss foreign trade.

Furthermore, because of its geographical location, Basel also enjoys the benefits of being on one of the most important waterways in Europe. An important part of the country’s foreign trade is handled through the Rhine port. The port’s handling centres with its docks and storage facilities ensure the region’s connection with the sea in the network of Europe’s trade and traffic routes. An impressive volume of goods amounting to around 6 to 7 million tonnes passes through the Swiss Rhine port every year. The ports play an important role for imports in particular. 12% of all imported goods (in terms of quantity) come into the country via this waterway.

With its new cargo terminal, Basel Airport is ideally equipped for optimum logistics processes. Over 100,000 tonnes of freight were handled at the Euroairport in 2015. This represents a growth of 3% compared with 2014. This upward trend is expected to continue.

Logistics Cluster Region Basel

The Canton of Basel-Stadt recognises the economic importance of the logistics sector and would like to actively support it so that Basel will remain competitive as a logistics centre in the long term.

That is why the initiative Logistics Cluster Region Basel was launched in 2011 as a “public-private partnership” by the two cantons of Basel-Landschaft and Basel-Stadt, the industry associations and the infrastructure operators, together with the Basel Chamber of Commerce (HKBB). The Logistics Cluster Region Basel initiative created a suitable instrument for the further development of Basel as a logistics centre. After completion of the first successful pilot phase in 2014, it was decided, after a needs analysis was carried out, that the initiative should continue until 2017.

The Logistics Cluster Region Basel focuses on the following objectives:

  • To position the Basel region as a centre for logistics
  • To demonstrate the economic importance of logistics
  • To build a solid bridge between logistics companies, politics, the authorities and society
  • To identify future challenges in logistics
  • To devise and implement a strategy with a plan of action for development of the logistics centre
  • To promote exchanges within the cluster

Corporate support

The mission of the Corporate Support team is to understand the needs and requirements of companies in regards to location, being fully aware that locations compete among each other. This involves evaluating suggestions and ideas for improving the factors of the Canton of Basel-Stadt as a location, as well as introducing the canton’s services and products to the company. In addition, events are held on a regular basis with the aim of providing a platform where businesses, politics and administrative bodies can exchange ideas and experiences.

One of these events was already staged for the third time on 6th April 2016. As part of the Logistics & Distribution exhibition in Zurich, the Heads of the Department of Economic Affairs of the Cantons of Zurich and Basel-Stadt were invited to this year’s event: “Basel meets Zurich”. The event proved once again to be the ideal meeting platform. This year there was also a lively exchange between representatives from politics, administrative bodies and the logistics industry.

The freight transport concept for the city of Basel was presented under the heading of “City Logistics”. It shows which measures can be used by public authorities, but also by private players to further improve the transport of goods. Increasing congestion, ever more demanding deadlines and urgency, along with the rise in deliveries for private customers, are future challenges that the logistics industry will have to face in urban areas.

The freight transport concept includes various measures, such as:

  • Package stations and package boxes
  • Development of micro-depots
  • Freight forwarding cooperations with existing systems
  • Extension of cargo-bike transport

A central approach to this optimisation hinges on vertical co-operations (between suppliers, transport companies and recipients) and horizontal co-operations (e.g. between transport companies and/or express parcel service couriers).

Forging partnerships and strengthening cooperation between public administration bodies and the private sector will help to ensure that new ideas are put into action with positive results.



Economic Development
Paolo Baldini
Logistics Manager
Hochstrasse 37
4002 Basel

Phone: +41 61 267 88 81
Email: paolo.baldini(at)bs.ch