The Marco Polo

Marco Polo is the European Union's funding programme for projects which shift freight transport from the road to sea, rail and inland waterways.

This means fewer trucks on the road and thus less congestion, less pollution, and more reliable and efficient transport of goods

The current, second Marco Polo programme runs from 2007-13 and features:

- more money: the programme budget is €450 million Euros

- more themes: this programme includes "motorways of the sea" and "traffic avoidance" projects

- more countries: Countries bordering the EU are now eligible for funding if they signed an association agreement

Marco Polo is managed by the European Commission's Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation.

Funding areas 2008

- Modal shift actions, which focus on shifting as much freight as economically meaningful under current market conditions from road to short sea shipping, rail and inland waterways. They may be proposing start-up of new services or significantly enhance existing services

- Catalyst actions change the way non-road freight transport is conducted in the Community. Under this type of action, structural market barriers in European freight transport are overcome through a highly innovative concept: causing a real break-through

- Motorways of the sea actions achieving a door-to-door service, which shift freight from long road distances to a combination of short sea shipping and other modes of transport. Actions of this kind are innovative at a European level in terms of logistics, equipment, products and services rendered

- Traffic avoidance actions integrate transport into production logistics: reducing freight transport demand by road with a direct impact on emissions. Actions of this type shall be innovative and shall not adversely affect production output and production workforce

Common learning actions enhance knowledge in the freight logistics sector and foster advanced methods and procedures of co-operation in the freight market. Under this type of action, improvement of co-operation and sharing of know-how is encouraged.

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