When the Federal Council makes the case for the NRLA project to Parliament in 1990 and the populace in 1992, it often points to the major sea ports of Rotterdam and Genoa: they are separated by a rail freight corridor some 1,500 kilometres in length, with the NRLA at its heart. Switzerland, the Council argues, stands to benefit from opening up the best route to the sea for overseas trade. The NRLA also includes a series of developments in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. But after the triumvirate of nations plus Switzerland agree to develop the rail freight corridor in 1996 work proceeds slowly, especially south of Milan.
« The development of rail freight corridors, with a view to improving the competitiveness of rail freight, is occupying an increasingly prominent place on the EU agenda. »Rotterdam Declaration, Introduction, p. 1, unknown