THE INVESTMENT PLANS FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY FOCUS A LARGE PART OF THE EUROPEAN AID ALLOCATED TO SPAIN ON THE OPTIMIZATION OF INFRASTRUCTURES, MODERNIZATION OF ROLLING STOCK AND DIGITALIZATION TO INCREASE THE SHARES OF FREIGHT RAILWAY TRAFFIC.
ALL THE MEASURES ENVISAGED TO ACHIEVE THIS OBJECTIVE ARE SET OUT IN A SPECIFIC SECTION OF CHAPTER 6 DEVOTED TO “INTERMODALITY AND LOGISTICS”.
The decarbonization of freight transport is one of the great challenges in the fight against the climate emergency. The European institutions and the Member States are working to make a modal change a reality where the railway has the greatest role to reduce the emissions associated with this sector.
In this sense, Spain is committed to improving the distribution system by promoting intermodality, and to the modernization and improvement of logistics nodes. This is reflected in pillar 6 of the Safe, Sustainable and Connected Mobility Strategy, in its “Intelligent Intermodal Logistics Chains” section. At this point, the predominant role that the railway should have in the coming years is prioritized.
In line with this strategy, the investment plans for economic recovery focus a large part of the European aid allocated to Spain on the optimization of railway infrastructures. All the measures envisaged to achieve this objective are set out in a specific section of Chapter 6 devoted to “Intermodality and logistics”.
The planned actions are divided into three main areas. On the one hand, the development of Spanish intermodal and logistics terminals (TILOS) that are considered strategic. On the other hand, the improvement of external railway access to ports. And, thirdly, projects to advance the concept of “Green Ports,” which will also be financed by other European funds. The implementation schedule, which began in February 2020, will end in August 2026.
The purpose of the “greening” of freight transport is for the 75% of inland transport, which is currently carried out by road, to move to railway and inland waterways
Support for the implementation of new technologies focuses another of the lines of action in supporting sustainable and digital transport. This measure has a budget of 47.5 million euros. The following are susceptible to financing automation projects, modal integration, and digitalization of both, services, and transport companies.
In addition to the funds allocated to the transport of goods, others are also contemplated for passengers to advance in aspects such as Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
INTERMODAL TERMINALS AND STRATEGIC LOGISTICS
One of the three budget items of this chapter of 217 million euros will be used to carry out infrastructure improvements in four of the network’s strategy terminals that must be operational with sufficient capacity standards in the comingyears: Vicálvaro (Madrid), Fuente de San Luis (Valencia), La Llagosta in (Barcelona) and Júndiz (Álava). In all of them, the current functionalities will be extended so that the intermodal zone converges with the logistics area.
All four are the backbone of the country’s network of intermodal and logistics terminals, due to both their cargo volume, and their territorial location and international dimension. These projects are also included in other planning projects such as the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), the Infrastructure, Transport and Housing Plan (PITVI) 2012-2024 and the Logistics Strategy of Spain.
Additionally, part of this item will be used to make improvements in the intermodal and logistics terminals of Can Tunis (Barcelona), Orduña (Bizkaia), Lezo (Gipuzkoa), Muriedas (Santander) and Escombreras (Murcia).
The objective is to boost the presence of the railway in the logistics chain to achieve a more efficient and sustainable economic activity.
SUPPORTING SUSTAINABLE AND DIGITAL TRANSPORT
The objective of changing the current mode of transport towards a more sustainable model is to improve its energy efficiency and implement the most advanced technological developments.
Both sustainability and digitalization are priority aspects of the Spanish recovery system, which seeks a reactivation based on a green and decarbonized economy. In this sense, the “support program for sustainable and digital transport” has been designed, which is included in component 6 of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan” and in which the freight sector has a great weight in order to increase the percentage of the railway in the supply chain.
It is a program with six lines of action, including 15 measures. Three different modalities have been established for its financing. On the one hand, grants will be awarded in competitive competition to ensure transparency and equality. On the other hand, aid is established in simple competition through the support for sustainable freight transport (railway and sea) through eco-incentives. Thirdly, transfers will be made to the autonomous communities for the digitalization of both passenger and freight services at the regional and local level.
BOOSTING NETWORK INTEROPERABILITY AND INTERMODALITY
In these 15 lines of action, the promotion of less polluting means has a main character: the railway.
The first block of measures, which has an allocation of 45 million euros, focuses on increasing the interoperability of the network. Among the projects that will be carried out, those focused on expanding the implementation of the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS) on board stand out. They are joined by the actions planned to remove barriers to interoperability in accordance with the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (ETIs) adopted by Directive 2016/797 on the interoperability of the railway system.
In addition, work will be done on the introduction of new systems for the noise reduction in the rolling stock and in the adaptation of the locomotive fleet to various operating voltages. It also contemplates the iInstallation of variable-width axles in freight wagons as well as support for R&D initiatives relating to axles of variable gauge in locomotives.
The second line of action, endowed with another 195 million euros, aims to promote the modal shift of freight transport from the road to the railway. Measures to achieve this objective include the construction and improvement of loading platform and intermodal “rail-road” terminals as well as their land connections. In addition, support will be established for the sustainable transport of goods, including maritime, which will be based on “eco-incentives” on supply and demand. This measure aims to reward the services that have the greatest impact on environmental costs. In the railway sector, these direct aids will be allocated on the supply, that is, they will go to the companies that provide transport services on the market.
ACTIONS TO IMPROVE ACCESSIBILITY IN THE INTERIOR
Railway accessibility in the interior, to which 177 million euros will be allocated, is another of the priority actions in the field of transport. This amount will be used in 19 projects ranging from remodeling and improvement works, to works of new access and internal transit in the ports.
To expand the circulation in these facilities, the infrastructure that gives continuity to their external land accesses will be adapted. It should be noted that of the 43 ports that make up the Spanish system, 39 belong to the Ten-T Network, which is why these remodeling projects have been considered so relevant.
◗ SUPPORT PROGRAMME FOR SUSTAINABLE AND DIGITAL TRANSPORT
|Line of action 1. Interoperability in freight railway transport: 45 M€||On board European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS).
Elimination of barriers to interoperability.
Noise reduction systems in rolling stock.
Adaptation of locomotives to various voltages.
Installation of variable gauge axles in freight transport wagons.
R&D on variable gauge axles in locomotives.
|Line of action 2. Promotion of intermodality: 195 M€||Building or improvement of loaders and intermodal rail-road terminals.
Eco incentives: Support for sustainable transport.
|Línea of action 3. Modernization of freight railway equipment: 125 M€
|Wagons for the railway transport of goods.
Railway tractor material to adapt it to others that use alternative fuels such as hydrogen or electricity.
MODERNIZATION OF RAILWAY FREIGHT EQUIPMENT
Along with the aids for the improvement of infrastructure and terminals, there is a third line of action aimed at modernizing the current fleet of vehicles.
125 million will be allocated to private companies to subsidize both the acquisition and renovation of rolling stock for freight railway transport. This amount will be used to enable them to adapt wagons for the transport of goods and to include the changes necessary for the operation of railway motorways.
In addition, investments in the compatibility of railway tractor equipment with alternative fuels such as hydrogen or electricity will be supported.
EXTERNAL RAILWAY ACCESS TO PORTS
One of the key measures of the strategy to boost freight railway transport is the improvement of external access to ports. This will enable its connection with the rest of the network and also with the European corridors. These works include ports such as La Coruña or Castellón.
In addition, this line of financing includes the installation of sidings of 750 meters in several points of the network.