Commission to support projects to get freight off the roads

Thirteen of the programmes submitted as part of the Marco Polo project to transfer freight off of roads to more environmentally friendly modes of transport are to receive funding from the European Commission.

The main objective of the programme is to transfer 12 billion tonnes/kilometres of freight annually off heavily congested roads to such routes as short sea shipping, rail and inland waterways.

It is likely that this objective will be exceeded by the contracted 13.6 billion tonnes/kilometres of this round.

The thirteen selected actions are likely to trigger private investment of about €360 million (without infrastructure). Each has an average environmental efficiency rating of 15. This means that for every Euro of subsidy spent, there are €15 of external costs saved for society.

The actions were submitted under the first call for proposals which closed on 10th December last year. A Marco Polo Info day will take place on the 1st October to present a detailed analysis of the first selection round to interested companies and all parties concerned.

The event will also help potential applicants to prepare for the second call for proposal which is scheduled for publication at the end of September 2004.

By David Hopkins

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