The European Commission has given approval to a €285m Spanish scheme under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) to advance rail freight transport in Spain.

As part of EU State aid rules, the project has been approved to encourage freight transport to shift from road to rail to cut down CO2 emissions, stated the regulator.

The scheme will enable the construction, adaptation, or improvement of loading dock and rail freight terminals besides connecting them with the main national railway network.

It will also help acquire or renovate wagons for rail freight transport, including those acclimated to deliver rail motorway services.

As part of the scheme, direct grants will be provided for the companies active in the rail freight sector in Spain.

The scheme, which will run until 31 December 2025, aims to promote the use of rail transport that is less polluting compared to road transport as well as lower road congestion.

EC stated that the “aid will have an ‘incentive effect’ as the beneficiaries would not carry out the investments in the absence of public support and 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.”

Last year in August, two German schemes worth more than €2.5bn were cleared by the EC to support the rail freight and long-distance rail passenger industry, affected by the pandemic.