State aid: Commission approves €6 million public support to promote shift of freight transport from road to rail in the Emilia-Romagna region (Italy)

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules an Italian support scheme to encourage the shift of freight traffic from road to rail in the region of Emilia-Romagna in Italy. The scheme, which has an overall budget of €6 million and will run until 2022, aims to increase the share of rail and intermodal freight transport in the region. The public support will be provided to new rail freight transport services carried out along a route of maximum 120 km within the regional territory. The aid takes the form of a subsidy to logistics companies and multimodal transport operators, with the objective of channeling part of the advantage to end customers, incentivising them to switch to rail transport. The level of support companies can receive is based on the reduction in the external costs (pollution, noise, congestion and accidents) achieved by rail transport compared to road transport. The Commission found that the scheme is beneficial for the environment and mobility, as it supports rail transport, which is less polluting than road transport, while also decreasing road congestion. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measure is with EU State aid rules, in particular the Commission Guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.54990 once confidentiality issues have been resolved.