EU Commission approved the 125-million-euro Italian scheme to support Motorways of the Seas

June 2, 2023

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a 125-million-euro Italian scheme to encourage freight transport to shift from road-only to combined road-short-sea shipping transport.

The purpose of the scheme is to promote intermodal transport to shift freight traffic off the roads, thereby reducing the environmental, health and social impact of road traffic and the congestion of road infrastructures, in line with the objectives of the EU Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and of the European Green Deal.

Under the scheme, which will run until 31 December 2027, the aid will take the form of direct grants. The scheme is open to road hauliers that transport their cargo vehicles via waterways on eligible maritime routes from an Italian port to a different port of the European Economic Area.

The aid will partially cover the higher costs of short-sea shipping legs compared to road-only transport options. The aid amount will be calculated based on the avoided kilometres on the Italian road network.

Beneficiaries can receive a maximum of €0.30 per vehicle-kilometre.

The Commission found that the scheme is necessary and proportionate to support transport coordination and contributes to the development of a more sustainable freight transport with a view to reducing the negative externalities of road transport, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. On this basis, the Commission approved the Italian scheme under EU State aid rules.