EC APPROVES ITALIAN SUPPORT MEASURES FOR RAIL FREIGHT
On 8 June, the European Commission approved, under EU State aid rules, a €55 million Italian scheme to encourage freight transport to shift from road to rail. The scheme is part of Italy's National Plan for Complementary Investments that will supplement the Italian Recovery and Resilience Plan with national resources.
The scheme is aimed at modernising intermodal equipment (namely transtainers, reach stackers and shunting vehicles) at interports and intermodal terminals to encourage freight transport to shift from road to rail, which is a greener mode of transport. Under the scheme, the support will take the form of direct grants to all interested interports and intermodal terminal operators that are part of the Trans-European Transport Network in Italy. The scheme will run until 31 December 2026.
Additionally, on 17 June, the European Commission approved a €130 million Italian scheme to support both the rail freight and rail commercial passenger sectors in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. This follows another measure aimed at reducing track access charges that the Commission originally approved on 24 March 2021 and that was subsequently amended (SA.59376, SA.62762 and SA.63652).
The measure will enable Italy to relieve rail freight and rail commercial passenger operators of part of the costs related to track access charges during the period from 1 January to 31 March 2022. The aim of the measure is to support rail operators by preserving their competitiveness as well as the shift of traffic from road to rail achieved prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lastly, on 20 June, the European Commission approved, under EU State aid rules, a €374 million Italian support to compensate rail freight transport companies for the damage suffered during the period between 12 March and 31 May 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions that Italy and other countries had to implement to limit the spread of the virus.
Under the notified scheme, eligible beneficiaries will be entitled to receive compensation in the form of direct grants for the damage suffered during the relevant period. The measure will be open to companies active along the rail freight transport and logistics chain, including rail freight carriers, wagon keepers, as well as freight forwarders and multimodal transport operators, organising transport and logistics on behalf of freight owners.
Source: European Commission