Intermodal Freight Transport

Chapter 10: Grant Aid and Government Support

The subject of grant aid for intermodal transport operations was previously outlined in Chapters 3 and 4, but in view of its significance this chapter is devoted to a rather more detailed discussion of the important grant schemes that have already aided intermodal developments and those currently in operation, and the projects they are designed to facilitate.

Grant aid (known by various names and designations) is a principal aspect of European Union (EU) and UK Governmental policy designed to generate environmental benefits by encouraging a switch of freight to more sustainable modes of transport, such as from road to rail or to inland waterway and short-sea modes. An important point to note in regard to such aid is that the European Commission (EC) is, and will continue to be, concerned to ensure that any funding granted is necessary, that it must not lead to unacceptable distortions of competition and that it must comply with Community rules, which, basically, forbid the propping up by governments of so-called lame duck enterprises.

Since 1996 the EU has developed a number of grant aid policies. Firstly, with the Pilot Actions for Combined Transport (PACT) programme, which ran from 1996 to 2001, and more recently with the Marco Polo programme, with a budget of 100 million (i.e. euros) for the 25-Member State EU, plus three non-EU members; Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway running from 2003 to 2006. A follow-up programme, Marco Polo II, is scheduled to run from 2007 to 2013 with a budget...

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