The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a €15 million (SEK 150 million) support scheme to encourage the shift of freight traffic from road to waterways in Sweden.

The “Ecobonus” scheme, which will run until 31 December 2020, will support the establishment of new maritime and inland waterway routes and the upgrade of existing routes. The aid takes the form of a direct grant to ship-owners. Under the scheme, the Swedish government will support up to 30% of the operational costs for shipping services or, alternatively, 10% of investment costs for trans-shipment equipment.

The measure, which is part of an initiative to promote fossil-fuel free transport, will contribute to decreasing emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases while, at the same time, preserving competition in the Single Market.

On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measure is compatible with EU State aid rules, in particular Article 93 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union regarding transport coordination and the Commission’s Guidelines on State aid to maritime transport.