EC Approves Italian Scheme to Compensate Rail Freight Companies Affected by Pandemic

The European Commission (EC) has approved a 374 million EUR (401.53m USD) Italian scheme set to compensate rail freight transport companies for the financial damage suffered due to the pandemic.

The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(2)(b) TFEU, which enables it to approve member state aid measures to compensate specific companies or sectors for damages directly caused by exceptional occurrences.

Electric freight train in Italy
Electric freight train in Italy

Italy was one of many European countries that put strong measures in place to slow the spread of the virus.

Restrictions put in place between 12 March and 31 May 2020 had a particularly negative impact on rail freight transport services, due to the limited production and trade of goods transported by rail.

This resulted in a significant drop in transport volumes and revenues while costs rose, as companies were required to introduce new, stricter hygiene measures.

Eligible companies from across the freight industry – including rail freight carriers, wagon keepers, freight forwarders and multimodal transport operators – will now be entitled to receive compensation in the form of direct grants.

Margrethe Vestager, European Commission Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Competition, said:

“This 374 EUR million measure will enable Italy to compensate rail freight transport companies for the damage suffered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the related restrictions.

“We continue working closely with all Member States to ensure that national measures to support all sectors that were hit by the crisis, including the rail sector, can be implemented as quickly as possible, in line with EU rules.”

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