EU launches €5 billion call to make transport energy efficient

The European Commission (EC) has launched a call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Transport programme which makes available over €5 billion for European transport infrastructure projects.

Illustration. Courtesy of Navingo
Illustration. Courtesy of Navingo

The funding — €5.12 billion — will support projects across all EU Member States along the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) – the network of rail, inland waterways, ports, and roads that connects Europe.

As explained, projects funded under this call will help increase the sustainability of the transport network, putting the EU on track to meet the European Green Deal objective of cutting transport emissions by 90% by 2050.

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Specifically, the total budget of the call is available to support infrastructure projects in the areas including maritime and inland ports, inland waterways, multimodal logistics platforms, multimodal passenger hubs and others.

When it comes to developing infrastructure projects in maritime ports, the scope of studies and works will encompass:

  • port access aiming at providing safe maritime access in the form of breakwaters, access channels, fairways, locks and navigational aids
  • basic port infrastructure, with a priority on:
    • development of zero or low-emission multimodal solutions, or;
    • development of ports´ capacities and facilities in relation with offshore wind farms. The involvement of the maritime port in the transportation activities of the offshore wind farms and the need for the basic port infrastructure for those activities should be demonstrated in the proposal, or;
    • improving connectivity of remote, insular or outermost regions or of Member States with no land border with another Member State;
  • shore-side electricity supply (including an upgrade of electrical grid within the port if it is needed for the shore-side electricity supply);
  • port reception facilities for oil and other waste (including residues from exhaust gas cleaning systems) to meet environmental requirements;
  • ensuring year-round navigability by means of capital dredging and ice-breaking facilities. The capital dredging will be supported only as an intervention to remove bottlenecks for the EU Short sea shipping.
  • providing or improving inland waterways/road/rail access and connections within maritime ports.
  • on-site renewable energy generation (synergetic element) such as photovoltaic power plants, wind turbines, etc, for example for a shore-side electricity supply, for the needs of the basic port infrastructure and for diverse port operations. Such interventions must improve the socio-economic, climate or environmental benefits of the project.

Projects reinforcing the Solidarity Lanes will also be eligible.

“We are making available over €5 billion in projects that will increase the sustainability of our overall transport network. In light of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the call will also support projects to modernise border crossing points so as to facilitate the transport of goods between the EU and Ukraine along the Solidarity Lanes – the lifelines for Ukraine’s economy,” Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport, commented.

According to the European Commission, these challenging times have also reinforced the importance of having an efficient, seamless, well-connected European infrastructure network. Projects funded under this call will contribute to the creation of an interconnected multimodal transport system for both passengers and freight.

The objective is an affordable, reliable and effective rail network, improved inland waterways navigation and infrastructure in maritime ports, a balanced interconnection between different modes of transport, and increased automation and interoperability for greater efficiency and safety along the entire transport network.