The grant is provided by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, a funding instrument for developing the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) with a budget of €24 billion over the period 2014-2020. The project was selected under the 2018 call for proposals, which particularly prioritized investments into combined transport infrastructure, underlining the European Union’s ambition to shift road freight to more sustainable modes of transport. This is supported by the statement of Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, who has called for 2018 to be the "Year of Multimodality".
“I am very pleased with the award of the CEF grant. It is the highest form of recognition regarding the relevance and usefulness of our technology for the implementation of the European policies promoting combined transport and rail freight services.” stated Hans-Jürgen Weidemann, CEO of CargoBeamer AG during the press conference on the 26th of August in Calais, where the agreement with the EU was presented. “Our system provides an efficient solution to address the problems related the movement of goods between member states: reducing bottlenecks on the highways, improving intermodal connections, strengthening the corridors and mitigate the environmental impact.”
The funding provided by the EU covers around 20% of the total investment costs of the project, which amounts to 32 million euros. The award of the grant represents a crucial step towards establishing CargoBeamer’s ‘rail motorway’ hub in Calais.
The terminal project contributes to the implementation of the regional and local strategy for multimodality and is strongly backed with additional political and financial support by the city of Calais, the region Hauts de France and the French State.
“Our region absorbs more than half of the flow of goods between the United Kingdom and continental Europe. In 2018, 3.6 million freight vehicles transited through the Channel tunnel and the port. The establishment of the new ‘rail motorway’ will contribute to the diversification of the region’s logistics activities and strengthen its position as the major node for cross-Channel traffic. Furthermore, freight transport will increase in the coming year, which is why it is important to develop the rail freight sector. The CargoBeamer project will offer an environmentally friendly and competitive alternative to road transport.” points out Natacha Bouchart, President of Calais Promotion.
The CargoBeamer project will be implemented at the heart of the ‘ZAC Transmarck-Turquerie’, an area of 220 hectares dedicated to transport and logistics activities. Due to its strategic location, this area represents a key element of Calais’ regional development strategy. It is located at the intersection of the main European highways, as well as near the port and the Channel tunnel, which makes it ideal for attracting UK traffic and creating added value in the area. In the coming years, Transmarck-Turquerie is likely to become one of the major logistics hubs in northern France, contributing to strengthening Calais’ position as an essential European transport node.
Whereas the road remains the predominant mode of transport for goods, the development of rail freight is still relatively limited. This is why innovative solutions are needed to allow for shifting freight towards more sustainable modes of transport. The CargoBeamer technology provides the opportunity to establish efficient and competitive combined transport services, which are more environmentally friendly compared to road transport.
CargoBeamer’s automated transhipment technology can handle all standard semi-trailers, including non-craneable ones. Those semi-trailers, which were previously excluded from combined transport services, can now be transported by rail. The horizontal transhipment process is fully automated, electrified, very fast and therefore emits only very low levels of noise. Thanks to automation and parallelization, a whole train can be unloaded and reloaded in 20 minutes.
The 5.7 hectare terminal platform in Calais will be equipped with 18 automated transhipment modules and 150 parking spaces for semi-trailers. The property was acquired in June 2018, while the building permits were granted in April 2019. The implementation of this innovative combined transport terminal will allow for Calais to be better connected to important logistics and industrial centres in Europe.
CargoBeamer is a logistics service provider, which is building and marketing a European ‘rail motorway’ network for unaccompanied combined transport of non-craneable semi-trailers. CargoBeamer has developed wagon and terminal technology in 2009 to 2013. The technology is fully certified by European autorities. CagroBeamer’s first rail transport route between west Germany and northern Italy has been in operation since 2015 and is constantly growing. Since its opening, CargoBeamer with its innovative trains has transported more than 50.000 trailers in about 1.500 trains across Swiss Alps already. The company targets at realization of an European-wide network of innovative rail/road terminals and environmentally friendly rail transport routes for all kinds of semi-trailers.
Calais Promotion is the economic development agency of the Calais region. It is financed by the city and the agglomeration ‘Grand Calais Terres & Mers’ and functions as a business support structure. Its mission is to assist project promoters, who wish to establish themselves in the region, as well as promoting the region to French and international companies. Its members include important organisations, such as Eurotunnel and the port of Calais.