The European Investment Bank and CargoBeamer signed a EUR 12.6 million equity type financing in the form of a senior secured loan coupled with a profit sharing mechanism for three new rail freight terminals.
The EIB loan is backed by the Future Mobility facility, a joint initiative established by the EIB and the European Commission under the Connecting Europe Facility Debt Instrument.
The funding will support the construction of the new terminals in Calais (France), Kaldenkirchen (Germany) and Domodossola (Italy) to run combined transport rail services between these terminals as well as to other destinations. The project is expected to be completed in 2022.
CargoBeamer’s technology enables combined road-rail transport and allows transferring most truck cargo to rail. The company’s patented technology consists of rail wagons, innovative shipment terminals and logistics software. Its system is compatible with 80% of the cargo trailers currently in use and thus offers a cleaner and cost competitive alternative when compared to road-transported freight.
“European road transport continues to have the largest share of freight inland transport, resulting in traffic congestions, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. With freight traffic expected to further grow, the modal shift to rail is becoming more important than ever. Combined transport solutions such as road-to-rail can contribute to decarbonising transport and play an important role in achieving our goals towards a more eco-friendly, sustainable and efficient transport sector in Europe,” EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said.
CargoBeamer obtained the EU certification of its technology in 2013 and since 2015, it has been successfully operating the route between Kaldenkirchen (Germany) and Domodossola (Italy). On this route the company has been able to capture about 7% of the road freight market in the corridor, excluding the broader hinterland, thus demonstrating that a significant modal shift from road to rail is possible.
Calais is the first of the three rail freight terminals to be opened, expected for mid-2021 when it will be able to unload and load trains with up to 36 semi-trailers, in a fully automated process within 20 minutes. The construction for this terminal was inaugurated in July 2020. A consortium led by the French construction group Eiffage is carrying out the construction work. The project has received a EUR 7 million EU funding and the remaining investment is covered by the French State and the Hauts-de-France Region. The funding provided by the EU covers around 20% of the total investment costs of the project, which amounts EUR 32 million.