Transport & mobility

When it comes to goods transport, protection of the environment and climate is very important to Migros. In 2016, it increased its focus on rail transport, using reusable containers and developing innovative transport solutions.

Environmentally friendly goods transport is a key component of Migros' 2020 climate and energy strategy. It has been using sustainable transport solutions for decades. To achieve its ambitious climate objectives, Migros constantly strives to increase the share of rail shipments, reduce the emissions of its lorry fleet and continue to use a large proportion of reusable containers.

Focus on rail transport

As an environmentally aware company, Migros has transported a large proportion of its goods by rail for decades. All distribution centres and most M-Industry companies have their own rail connections. Migros always tries to use rail transport for both the distribution and procurement of goods.

In 2016, goods wagons covered about 12.8 million km for the Migros Group. In total, more than 1.4 million tonnes of freight was transported by rail.


Rail transport kilometrage, Migros Group

Rail transport kilometrage
in CHF million 1
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Change from previous year
Rail transport kilometrage 10.3 11.3 11.6 11.5 12.5 8.8%

1 Domestic transport by Cooperative Retailing, M-Industry and the retailers Globus and Migrol

In Cooperative Retailing, Migros remains the number one for rail freight in Switzerland in terms of turnover. It transports about half its goods by rail.

At the end of 2016, SSB Cargo introduced a new service for wagonload freight, which offers up to three collections and deliveries per day on rail wagons. Migros thus benefits from additional transport capacity and even faster connections. The connection and required capacity can now be bindingly booked, which provides greater flexibility and planning reliability. This is particularly useful when transporting time-critical goods, such as fresh produce. As a whole, it makes rail more attractive and encourages Migros to make even greater use of this mode of transport in the future.

More shipments were switched from road to rail in 2016. For example, Migros switched the shipment between the Migros Service Centre in Bülach (ZH) and the operating centre in Gossau (Migros Cooperative Eastern Switzerland) to rail. A rail wagon now delivers goods in both directions every day.

International transport by rail

Migros has an increasing proportion of its goods from neighbouring European countries delivered by rail. Along with Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, Italy is an important trading partner. Since the reporting year, Migros has procured processed tomato products from southern Italy via rail transport. Since the transition was made in May 2016, about 8'200 t have been transported by rail. This has already reduced lorry kilometrage by almost 360'000 km and CO2 emissions by 283 t compared with road-based solutions.

Since the middle of 2016, bananas have been shipped primarily from the port of Antwerp due to the WWF banana project and an associated change of supplier. The proportion of bananas transported by rail or unaccompanied combined transport (UCT) from Belgium was down by 30% in favour of lorry transport. There are two reasons for this: lorry shipments can be organised more quickly and flexibly than rail shipments and thus were used more in the initial period after the switch. The rail strikes in Belgium and France also made it necessary to revert to road transport temporarily. The proportion of goods shipped by rail or by UCT is expected to rise again this year, with a minimum target of 40% being pursued.

Intermodal transport expanded

To intelligently combine the two shipping modes of road and rail, Migros is making increasing use of intermodal transport and increasing the proportion of this method in relation to the entire transport volume. With intermodal transport, the goods cover the longest part of the journey by rail in swap bodies or semitrailers and only the first and last few kilometres by road in low-emission lorries. Transport by lorry involves mainly deliveries to the sales outlets, as they are not connected to the rail network.

Due to the geographic position, the congestion in the Gotthard Tunnel and the comparatively long distance that is covered by rail, the use of intermodal transport between Ticino and German-speaking Switzerland makes good sense and is used actively by Migros, Globus and Denner.

A pilot project was launched in the reporting year to test an additional weekend route for transport of fruit and vegetables from Stabio (TI) to German-speaking Switzerland. In the opposite direction, rail wagons with semitrailers are used to transport goods from the distribution centre in Suhr (AG) to the operating centre of the Migros Ticino Cooperative in Sant'Antonino.

Delica has been using intermodal transport to ship ground coffee from Birsfelden (BL) to Stabio (TI) since 2016, where it is filled into capsules by the subsidiary Total Capsule Solutions. Some of the filled coffee capsules and the empty coffee silos are taken back to German-speaking Switzerland by intermodal transport. Thus, six swap bodies per week cover the longest part of the journey by rail.

migrolino no longer transports goods from the distribution centre in Suhr exclusively by road but also by intermodal transport to Valais and the Geneva region. This switch reduces migrolino's lorry kilometrage by more than 500'000 km per year.

Environmentally friendly refrigeration

Cooperative Retailing uses intermodal transport to ship 3'000 swap bodies per year containing chilled or frozen products. To make the cold-chain logistics more environmentally friendly, Migros launched a pilot project for intermodal transport in 2016. It is testing a rail wagon in which the swap bodies are cooled using the power generated by the locomotive instead of a conventional diesel-powered unit. The project will be continued this year and expanded to include additional wagons.

Resource-efficient lorry transport

To make road transport as environmentally friendly as possible, the ten regional Cooperatives have their own fleet of low-emission vehicles. In 2016, 92% of kilometres driven (lorry fleet of the Migros Cooperatives, Migros Verteilzentrum Suhr and of Saviva) were covered by low-emission lorries that meet the strict Euro 5 or Euro 6 emission standards. In addition, numerous drivers completed courses on environmentally friendly and safe driving.


Chart on kilometrage of Euro category lorries

Kilometrage of Euro category lorries (in-house fleet)
in million km 1
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Change from previous year
Euro 2, 3, 4 10.3 8.2 6.1 4.2 2.6 -37.6%
Euro 5, 6 19.7 21.6 24.5 27.3 29.6 8.5%
Total kilometres by lorry (km million) 29.9 29.9 30.2 30.6 31.0 1.5%
Proportion of Euro 5 and 6 (%) 65.6% 72.6% 80.0% 86.8% 91.9% 6.0%

1 In-house lorry fleets of the Migros Cooperatives, distribution centres and Saviva


CO2 emissions from goods transport with lorries

CO2 emissions from goods transportation with lorries (in-house fleet) 1 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Change from previous year
CO2 emissions from fuel, absolute (in 1'000 tonnes CO2) 24.4 24.2 24.1 24.2 23.3 -3.7%
CO2 emissions from fuel, specific (in g CO2/tonne kilometres) 29.9 29.8 28.9 28.2 26.4 -6.4%

1 In-house lorry fleets of Migros Cooperatives, distribution centres and Saviva, tonne kilometres (tkm) according to LSVA survey


Carbon dioxide and fine dust emissions

Carbon dioxide and fine dust emissions
in tonnes 1
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Change from previous year
Nitrogen oxide emissions 102.2 88.5 75.5 62.3 50.1 -19.5%
Particle emissions 1.8 1.5 1.2 0.9 0.7 -23.8%

1 Calculated on basis of kilometres and Euro categories (in-house lorry fleet Cooperatives and Saviva)

Cooperative Retailing reduces the CO2 emissions of its lorry fleet through optimised routes, more economical driving and alternative fuels. The Migros Cooperatives Aare, Geneva, Neuchâtel/Fribourg, Eastern Switzerland and Zurich use biodiesel lorries that either run on 100% biodiesel or use biodiesel in combination with fossil fuel. Biodiesel enables the Cooperatives to reduce CO2 emissions by 3'581 t per year. The Migros Cooperative Zurich also uses six low-emission gas lorries and an electric tractor unit for transport on the premises.

In 2016, Migros compared the technologies and life cycle assessments of diesel, biofuel, gas, electric and hydro-powered vehicles. Electric lorries represent a promising alternative to diesel lorries in urban logistics. Diesel lorries will continue to be the norm for road freight in the near future. Biodiesel made from waste and residual materials offers a temporary solution.

Strategic use of southern ports

In the reporting year, Migros again increased the volume of goods that are delivered via Mediterranean ports. 50% of sea freight container loads were shipped through the southern ports of Genoa and La Spezia. This corresponds to 4'300 containers.

In comparison to the more distant sea ports in northern Europe, this shortens the transport routes and reduces CO2 emissions. Migros therefore uses the southern ports strategically and is planning to keep the volume of goods sent via these ports to at least 50% of the total volume. Since 2015, Migros has been the only retailer in Switzerland to bundle all containers arriving via the ports of La Spezia and Genoa and transport them by rail to the distribution centres in Switzerland.

Reusable containers

Migros always tries to use robust reusable containers in place of disposable cardboard boxes to transport its goods. It is the only retailer in Switzerland to use reusable containers on such a large scale.

All Cooperatives, M-Industry and the national distribution centres are connected to the recycling system, along with more than 1'000 third-party suppliers in Switzerland and abroad. In the reporting year, more than 8 million reusable containers were used. Migros thus saved 93'000 t of cardboard when transporting its goods – and exceeded the yearly target of 75'000 t that was set as part of its Generation M promise.

Cargo sous terrain – a new freight network

In addition to use of the existing transport infrastructure in a way that conserves resources to the greatest possible extent, Migros is committed to developing new solutions that are fit for the future. Via the freight transport working group of the Swiss retail stakeholder group IG DHS, Migros again supported the Cargo sous terrain (CST) project in 2016. The development association will be converted into a public limited company this year. Migros, as a founding member, will become a shareholder and provide seed capital.

CST is a sustainable, automated logistics system that enables flexible, underground transport of goods and waste. This new type of freight infrastructure could supplement the Swiss road and rail network in just 20 years' time and relieve it at critical points by connecting the country's main business centres.

At the end of 2016, the Federal Council decided to support the legislative process for a CST law. This has laid the foundation for the planned launch of the new Swiss logistics system in 2030.

Mobility & passenger transport

Cooperative Retailing is committed to climate-friendly mobility for its employees and also promotes sustainable mobility among its customers. With the subsidiary m-way, Migros also supports electromobility in specific ways.

Electromobility – commercial & private

As part of its climate and energy strategy 2020 (KES2020), Migros set itself the aim of ensuring that all company cars in Cooperative Retailing emit no more than 130g CO2/km on average. This goal was achieved at the end of 2016, thanks to the procurement of fuel-efficient company cars. The average for the car fleet stands at 124 g CO2/km.

Several of the Cooperatives also use electric cars, including Migros Aare, Basel, Geneva, Neuchâtel/Fribourg, Valais and Zurich.

Migros already provides electric car charging stations for its customers and employees. By the middle of last year, a total of 73 charging stations were available at 24 Migros branches throughout Switzerland. Plans are in place to increase the number even further.


Thanks to the partnership with Mobility, staff can take advantage of the benefits of car-sharing on business trips anywhere in Switzerland. With the sharing platform sharoo, Migros also makes a commitment to the concept of sharing private cars.

Cycling together – Bike to work

In 2016, 326 teams with 1'304 Migros Group employees took part in the Bike to work initiative. Migros therefore had more participants than any other private company in Switzerland.

Transport & mobility (pdf, 74.67 KB)