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EU subsidy program "Connecting Europe Facility"

Interview with Thomas Kaspar on the current status in subsidies management.

Subsidies management in the DB Cargo Group pursues the goal of stronger co-funding of our projects for innovative, European rail freight transport. This supports the on-going development of the European production network.

Following the analysis of our current issues and the versatile subsidies landscape we decided to focus on both the EU Shift2Rail research initiative involving DB Cargo, and specifically on the EU "Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Transport" subsidies program.

This is an EU financing instrument for the period 2014-2020 for the introduction of marketable, innovative technologies and solutions to improve capacity, quality and safety in the nine pan-European core network corridors.

Thomas Kaspar is the single point of contact for all EU subsidy program topics at DB Cargo and has given us a brief outline of the current status at CEF and the outstanding steps.

To what extent has DB Cargo already profited from CEF?
"CEF's big advantage is its independence of complex project consortia during the application process. The 30 CEF subsidy focuses (e.g. rail interoperability, ERTMS, freight services, rail freight noise) address very many of our topics in the European environment. Thus far, some EUR 18 million in funds from CEF have been approved for six projects, both for the im-provement of vehicle technol-ogy and from the market are-as. This includes the introduc-tion of EPS in eight countries, equipping electric locomotives with the LEADER driver assis-tance system, the conversion of freight wagons to LL blocks, the implementation of new transport solutions in the field automotive to Spain and steel between Germany and the UK, and the expansion of the Euro hub at Barking in the UK.
Subsidy management sup-ports the project teams in meeting the strict financial and content-related requirements, which are verified every year by the EU."

What will happen next with CEF?
"We are currently preparing seven new CEF applications, which must be submitted to the EU by February 2017, including ETCS equipment for locomotives, the conversion of freight wagons to meet re-quirements for customers from the steel industry, a new transport solution to Romania and construction measures at the combined terminal in Burghausen. The total volume of subsidies that is likely to be applied for will be around EUR 15 million."

And what about other subsidy opportunities?
"The subsidy landscape in Germany for rail freight transport has been very limited thus far. But there are new approaches, for which we are looking into potential projects by DB Cargo. Additionally, we are currently receiving subsidy funding from the Eurotunnel Group and for combined transport transit consignments in Switzerland."

Under the EU-Funding Program Connecting Europe Facility – Transport the European Commission has approved the following 6 proposals submitted by DB Cargo.

Deployment of an innovative and technological rail infrastructure-vehicle interface system to ensure a low-carbon and energy-efficient freight transport system. The RIO system advises the vehicle driver about how to carry out energy-efficient rail freight operations depending on rail track topography and freight train path utilisation. 300 DB Cargo locomotives will be equipped by the RIO system (brandname LEADER of the company Knorr-Bremse) until autumn 2016.

Retrofitting rolling stock with composite brake blocks to reduce noise of rail freight transport. DB Cargo is planning to retrofit 16,000 existing freight wagons with LL brake blocks by exchange of iron cast brake blocks.

DB Cargo is seeking to reduce the high level of complexity and the lacks of interoperability and digital connectivity in the rail freight sector. Therefore DB Cargo will roll out digital communication infrastructure for interoperable cross-border rail freight services along the European core network via a Telematics Application for Freight (TAF) called EPS (European Production fulfilment System). EPS-TAF supports scheduling, monitoring and executing international rail freight transport with standardised processes and IT-applications.

Investing in a ‘just in time’ intermodal logistics concept with an innovative 40 foot open top curtain side container to develop sustainable, interoperable and safe freight services through the Eurotunnel along the TEN-T core network corridors. The new service is based on the following three components: specific wagons authorised for the Eurotunnel, new container technology including tracking & tracing services.

Greening the automotive supply chain by a sustainable ‘just in time’ Mediterranean rail shuttle service for the Iberian automotive market. DB Cargo Logistics acts as a Lead Logistics Provider and offers a door-to-door transport by managing the freight bundling between several automotive clients. Bundling the cargo of multiple clients can only be successful in the long run if the stakeholders involved can build up trust. DB Cargo Logistics invests in single wagon equipment with dual gauge functionality and vendor inventory IT tools.

Investing in a finished vehicle handling facility and multimodal hub for faster and efficient just-in-time deliveries between London, the rest of the UK and Europe.