Marco Polo Programme - Intermodal Freight Transport

Last updated: 5 November 2017
Adopted in July 2003, the Marco Polo programmes objective was to reduce road congestion, to improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system within the European Community and to enhance intermodality, thereby contributing to an efficient and sustainable transport system. To achieve this objective, the Program subsidized in energy and fuel saving measures in the freight transport, logistics and other relevant markets. These actions contributed to maintain the distribution of freight between the various modes of transport at 1998 levels by helping to shift the expected aggregate increase in international road freight traffic of 12 billion tkm per year to short sea shipping, rail and inland waterways, or to a combination of modes of transport in which road journeys are as short as possible. To qualify for subsidies, applicants were required to spell out how many tons of freight were to be switched from highways or how many vehicle-miles were likely to be saved. The level of subdsidy accorded with the degree of environmental benefit involved. All segments of the international freight transport market were within the scope of the Program. The Program ran from 2003 to 2010, with a budget of 75 € million for the EU 15 for the period of 2003 to 2006. Each additional fully participating country added to the budget. In May 2006, the European Parliament approved an additional €740 million euros for the programme.

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