Commission approves €1.7 billion German State aid scheme to support rail freight transport operators providing single and group wagon transport

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €1.7 billion German scheme to support rail freight operators in single and group wagon transport. The measure will contribute to ensuring that the rail freight sector remains competitive while preserving the environmental performance of rail, in line with the objectives of the Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and of the European Green Deal.

The aim of the scheme is to help rail operators cover part of the high operating cost. In doing so, the scheme aims to support and preserve the modal shift from road to rail transport, thus promoting a greener means of transport.

Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of direct grants. The maximum annual budget amounts to €320 million, with an overall budget of €1.7 billion over the five-year duration of the scheme. The scheme will run until 2029.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager in charge of competition policy said: “This €1.7 billion scheme will enable Germany to support important segments of rail freight transport, which is a more environmental-friendly mode of freight transport compared to road. It will help Germany meet its Green Deal objectives, while reducing the burden of rising costs for transport operators, to the benefit of industrial freight customers.”