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

By | 2023 Newsletter week 22 | No Comments

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.

Ettore Morace: “Good news for the Motorways of the Seas, also in Spain”

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Mergers and acquisitions between shipping companies, consolidation, bigger ships, ports and berths to be redesigned, reshoring of production to Europe or North Africa, Mediterranean trades, new technologies and the impact of the war in Ukraine. These are some of the trending topics on the table according to Ettore Morace, CEO of Trasmed Gle (company part of Grimaldi group) and founder of Malta Shipbrokers International.

Speaking at the Euromed Convention held in Sorrento, he revealed that the Spanish Government, for the time ever, allocated EUR 60 million to support the Motorways of the Seas, of which EUR 20 million for the first year. Grimaldi’s customers will benefit from this measure for the lines linking the ports of Valencia and Barcelona to Italy and also for the routes between Spain and the Baltic region.

Recently Grimaldi and Trasmed also opened a new roro link Salerno – Sagunto with stops in Cagliari and Palma de Mallorca.

“We are making a small revolution in maritime transport to the Balearic islands,” Morace commented. “Thanks to synergies withing the group and to the new Salerno – Sagunto line we are diverting ‘Eco-series’ ships to Palma trying to shift trailer traffic from ropax ferries to roro units. In this way we aim to reduce waiting time in port and therefore we can make the ships sailing at slower speed.”

Talking to FERRY SHIPPING NEWS he further added that “this is still a waiting time for the shipowners as we are all waiting to understand what are the new technologies and new fuels available and in compliance with Net Zero Emission. A ready technology still does not exist.”

The seasoned broker and manager also underlined that today, all dual-fuel LNG ferries are using traditional fuels.”

Talking about the impact of the war in Ukraine on the ferry market, Morace thinks that, “the price increase of raw materials have slowed down the current phase of mergers and acquisitions,” but he concluded that, “as soon as the situation normalizes, the phase of consolidation of shipping companies will continue.”