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  • 19/05/2014 : Last Marco Polo II Call finances 27 projects


  • 08/01/2014 : On 01/01/2014 the management of the programme has been transfered to INEA


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The Marco Polo funding was important to us, because it reduced the risk associated with a highly innovative investment and allows us to give a higher technical content to our services.

Franco Ghiglione, Lannutti

Catalyst actions

Catalyst actions

Catalyst actions are innovative. They overcome structural barriers to developing totally new approaches to non-road freight transport. They represent a genuine breakthrough offering great growth potential for freight transport. In addition to being innovative, they must also shift freight from the road.

The projects

Between 2007 and 2009, of the 70 actions which received grants, five were catalyst actions. Catalyst actions accounted for 10% of the funding granted in 2009.

Two of the five catalyst action grants in these first three years of the current Marco Polo programme (Marco Polo II) involved new ways of transporting large sheets of glass for industrial use – in one case transporting them by rail and in another by sea and inland waterway.

Other examples of catalyst actions include adding auxiliary ships on a part of the Danube where public infrastructure is inadequate, and introducing an automated technology for shifting standard semitrailers across to rail wagons from trucks without using cranes.

Innovation counts

Catalyst actions must lead to a shift of an average of 30 million tkm per year per contract. This low figure reflects the nature of this type of action, where the innovative aspect is as important as the extent of the modal shift.

A maximum subsidy of up to 35% of the cost of the action is available, but cannot be more than 2€ per 500 t/km shifted and the deficit of the project. Ancillary infrastructure costs can be included up to 20% of the total eligible costs of the project. Funding is for periods of between three and five years. Actions must cover at least two countries, either two Member States or one Member State and a nearby third country. Find out more on how to obtain this funding at 'Getting funds'