This working paper constitutes the first public document compiled by the LowCarb-RFC study, co-funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation (ECF) between 09/2015 and 08/2018. It presents a preliminary screening of the current state of discussion, recent literature and methods on the options and barriers for de-carbonising long distance freight transport by rail, inland waterways and road towards 2050. Out of this information it derives preliminary recommendations of sensitive issues and directions on critical needs for action and research directions. With the support of these analyses, the results of the LowCarb-RFC project will add to the understanding of successful policies for mitigating carbon emissions from freight transport. Potential pathways specifically for high volume European corridors to approach a zero carbon future for long distance freight transport will hopefully support the climate debate in the transport sector. The study further involves a test lab for local impacts of low carbon freight in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and a stakeholder platform for exchanging ideas and experiences with the industry.