The general aim of the programme is to help companies during the high risk start-up phase of new services or significantly upgraded ones for shifting freight off the road and on to short-sea shipping, rail and inland waterways. The top-ranked projects in the competitive evaluation process will be offered grant contracts of up to six years. However, only projects capable of demonstrating sustainable non-road freight transport services – i.e. projects that can survive on the market even after they cease receiving EU financial support – have a chance at receiving a grant.
The call is open to applications for five types of actions:
- Modal shift actions which will shift freight from the road to short sea shipping, rail, inland waterways or a combination of modes of transport;
- Highly innovative catalyst actions which are aimed at overcoming structural barriers in the freight transport market in the European Union, such as the low speed of freight trains or technical interoperability problems between transport modes;
- Common learning actions which will improve cooperation and optimise working methods and procedures between actors in the freight transport chain.
- Motorways of the Sea actions which shift freight from road to short sea shipping or a combination of short sea shipping and other modes of transport, offering a very large-volume, high-frequency intermodal maritime transport service.
- Traffic avoidance actions which integrate transport into production logistics in order to reduce freight transport demand by road.
The budget for the 2008 call has been increased to €59 million compared to €57 million in 2007.