ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE OF THE FREIGHT
Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the
granting of Community financial assistance to improve the environmental
performance of the freight transport system.
Commission Staff Working Paper: Results of the PACT programme (Pilot
Actions for Combined Transport) 1997-2001 Situation on 30 September
|Legal base:||(a) Article 71(1) and 80(2); co-decision; qualified majority voting|
|Documents originated:||4 February 2002
|Forwarded to the Council:
||(a) 5 February 2002|
(b) 4 February 2002
|Deposited in Parliament:
||28 February 2002|
|Department:||Transport, Local Government and the Regions
|Basis of consideration:
||EM 11 March 2002 |
|Previous Committee Report:
|To be discussed in Council:
||June 2002 |
|Committee's assessment:||Politically important
|Committee's decision:||(Both) Cleared
11.1 The PACT (Pilot Actions for Combined Transport)
programme, which ended in September 2001, was an integral part
of the Commission's efforts to shift freight from road transport
to other modes of transport. The Commission says of PACT:
"This Regulation authorises the Community to spend euro35
million over the period 1997 to 2001. The procedures are designed
to be straightforward and give all transport companies in the
European Union, including particularly small and medium enterprises,
the possibility of applying for Community funding. Since 1992,
more than 160 projects all over Europe have been funded by PACT."
11.2 An example of a successful project supported under
the PACT programme is a new service using rail and maritime transport
to link Sweden with Italy via Germany and Austria, which will
take about 450,000 tonnes from congested roads and improve transit
times by up to 48 hours.
11.3 The Marco Polo programme, document (a), is intended
as the successor of the PACT programme. It was announced in the
Commission White Paper "European transport policy for 2010:
time to decide",
which was debated in European Standing Committee A on 13 March
2002. Like PACT, the Marco Polo programme intends to improve the
environmental performance of the transport system by promoting
the shift of freight from road transport to short-sea shipping
and to rail and inland waterway transport. However the Marco Polo
programme is larger in scope than PACT. The Commission proposes
a budget of euro115 million (2003 - 2007) compared with funding
of euro35 million for the PACT programme. Unlike the PACT programme,
the Marco Polo programme will not be limited to combined transport
operations. The aim of the Marco Polo programme is to encompass
all segments of the freight market, including bulk transport.
11.4 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 11 March 2002,
the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Mr David Jamieson)
describes the three types of action that will be supported under
the Marco Polo programme:
"Startup support for new nonroad freight
services during their early lossmaking period, while potential
customers assess the frequency and regularity of the service.
This will take the form of an 'external cost savings award', calculated
according to the environmental, congestion and other benefits.
"Support to stimulate risktaking actions by private
entrepreneurs where the commercial rates of return involved in
trying to overcome structural impediments are too limited. This
would involve the launch of freight services and facilities of
strategic interest ('catalyst actions'). This follows one of the
recommendations of the external evaluation of the PACT programme.
Progress would be closely monitored by the Commission.
"Stimulating cooperative behaviour in the freight logistics
market ('common learning actions'). The Commission would act as
'honest broker', helping to build better working relationships
between the parties, identifying and disseminating best practice.
This also follows from the PACT programme, which is recognised
as having in some cases improved the level of commitment in the
11.5 The Minister adds:
"The Commission thus distinguishes between startup
aid and catalyst actions. Startup projects are foreseen
in situations where freight markets are already working well.
Their intention is to maximise traffic shift. The aim of catalyst
actions, on the other hand, is to overcome market barriers. The
Commission financial appraisal envisages 41 modal shift actions
and 15 catalyst actions."
11.6 Under the provisions of the Regulation, the Marco
Polo programme will run from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2010,
with an interim evaluation by December 2006.
11.7 Document (b) is a Staff Working Paper on the PACT
programme as at 30 September 2001. The document contains a short
summary of each of the 92 projects, including projects started
before 1996 under the first PACT programme. Total commitments
and total payments amounted to some euro30 million and euro22.4
million respectively. The document lists the following successes:
A barge service between Lille and Rotterdam, taking
about 50 trucks per day off the road in a heavily-used road traffic
- A rail/maritime service between Spain and Germany, so avoiding
the need for 6,500 truck journeys per year along congested road
- An information system for freight tracking, which translates
messages based on various different codes into a common language,
accessible by the public via PC and the Internet; and
- An in-depth feasibility study assessing the case for a new
fast maritime service between Scotland and the continent.
The Government's view
11.8 The Minister comments:
"We can welcome this programme of financial assistance
which aims to reduce the dependence on road transport for international
freight movement. We would hope that it will include a number
of projects involving the UK, as did the PACT programme. We expect
to be able to take a positive line on negotiations on the regulation.
"The provision of targeted financial assistance to promote
modal transfer is consistent with the UK freight grant schemes
administered by the Government.
"Organisations will be the recipients of the financial assistance.
An important role for the Government will be to ensure that potential
UK recipients are aware of the programme, and to assist and advise
11.9 The proposal to encourage the shift from road
to other modes of transport was a central feature of the European
Transport White Paper, which was debated on 13 March. We have
no further questions on these documents and are content to clear
11932/01; see HC 152-xv (2001-02), paragraph 2 (30 January 2002). Back