EC approves Spanish scheme for rail freight transport

Spanish scheme The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a EUR 285 million Spanish scheme to encourage freight transport to shift from road to rail.

The scheme will be funded through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), following the Commission’s positive assessment of the Spanish Recovery and Resilience Plan and its adoption by Council.

The purpose of the Spanish scheme is to boost modal shift towards railways with the objectives of lowering CO2 emissions. The scheme will support the construction, adaptation or improvement of loading dock and rail freight terminals, as well as their connections with the main national railway network and the acquisition or refurbishment of wagons for rail freight transport, including those adapted to the provision of rail motorway services.

Under the scheme, the support will take form of direct grants to companies active in rail freight sector in the country. The scheme will run until 31 December 2025.

The European Commission found that the scheme is necessary and proportionate to promote the use of rail transport, which is less polluting than road transport and reduces road congestion. The measure will therefore be beneficial both for the environment and for mobility. Furthermore, the Commission found that the aid will have an ‘incentive effect’ as the beneficiaries would not carry out the investments in the absence of the public support. The Commission therefore concluded that the measure will contribute to transport coordination and facilitate the shift of freight transport from road to rail, in line with the objectives of the EU Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and the European Green Deal, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.

One of the Spain’s RRF priorities is focusing on the investment policy on improving rail infrastructure for freight transport to increase the modal shift with rail being able to absorb a large part of the road traffic.

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