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Brussels, 20th May 2008

Commission approves State aid scheme for inland waterway transport in the Czech Republic

The European Commission authorised today a Czech State aid scheme to operators of inland waterway freight transport vessels. The aid has a total budget of CZK 443.5 million (EUR 17.33 million) and will be co-financed from the European Regional Development Fund.

The objective of the vessel modernisation programme is to make more effective use of vessels, to raise the transport safety level and to reduce impact on environment. The scheme includes three specific subprogrammes:

  • aid for purchase of low-emission engines, which will incentivise companies to upgrade to ships following the latest EU standards[1];
  • aid to investment in transhipment equipment, which will make vessels more competitive and operationally flexible, so as to support intermodality;
  • aid for investments into appliances to increase navigation safety and improve manoeuvrability.

European transport policy encourages the use of inland waterway and other environmentally friendly modes of transport to become competitive alternatives to road haulage. The European Commission aims at promoting and strengthening the competitive position of inland waterway transport, in particular by enhancing its integration into multi-modal supply chains[2]. In line with this general policy approach and the applicable legislative instruments, the Commission concluded that any distortion of competition through the notified aid was outweighed by its contribution to objectives of common EU interest.

[1] Directive 2004/26/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 97/68/EC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to measures against the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants from internal combustion engines to be installed in non-road mobile machinery, OJ L 225, 25.6.2004.

[2] “NAIADES” An Integrated European Action Programme for Inland Waterway Transport, COM(2006) 6 of 17.1.2006.

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