EUROPE: The European Investment Bank is providing financing to support the development of three CargoBeamer rail freight terminals at Calais in France, Kaldenkirchen near Germany’s border with the Netherlands and Domodossola near Italy’s border with Switzerland.

CargoBeamer’s patented system comprising wagons, transhipment terminals and logistics software enables the unaccompanied rail transport of around 80% of standard lorry semi-trailers.

It obtained EU certification for the system in 2013, and has it been operating between Kaldenkirchen and Domodossola since 2015. CargoBeamer has since captured about 7% of the road freight market on the corridor, and it believes a significant modal shift is possible.

Cargobeamer pilot service to Lithuania

The Calais terminal is currently under construction for opening in mid-2021, and CargoBeamer’s medium-term plan is to develop a European network of transhipment facilities at important transport hubs. In May 2020 a trial service ran from Kaldenkirchen to Šeštokai in Lithuania.

‘An international network of terminals at carefully selected locations will be the key to success’, said CargoBeamer CEO Dr Markus Fischer when the financing agreement with EIB was signed on December 22. ‘We are convinced that combined transportation and the sustainable solution it offers will play an instrumental role in modal shift.’

EIB is providing €12·6m through a senior secured loan coupled with profit sharing. The loan is backed by the Future Mobility facility joint initiative of the EIB and the European Commission under the Connecting Europe Facility.

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said road transport caused traffic congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and modal shift was more important than ever.

‘Combined transport solutions such as road-to-rail can contribute to decarbonising transport and play an important role in achieving our goals towards a more eco-friendly, sustainable and efficient transport sector’, he said.