Navigation path

Latest news

  • 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


Don't Miss

Modal Shift

Some of the projects Marco Polo has funded under the 'modal shift' action are listed on this page. These projects take freight off the roads and shift it onto other more environmentally friendly forms of transport.

Reefer Express

Carrying perishable products by sea, such as fruit and vegetables, can be a viable alternative to crossing Europe by land - though MacAndrews did not always find it easy to convince clients initially. It used Marco Polo funding to launch combined short-sea and rail container services for refrigerated and general cargo to compete with trucks on the route from Spain to the Netherlands and the UK. The ships link Bilbao in northern Spain, and Tilbury in England and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Find out more… pdf - 397 KB [397 KB]


German wind turbine manufacturer, ENERCON uses rail and ship to move components and parts from Germany to Portugal, as well as to installation sites throughout Europe. The novelty is that ENERCON is using rail for over-size shipments, i.e. rotor blades, the electrical equipment modules and tower sections of wind turbines. This is both environmentally friendly and a solution to increasing resistance from local, regional and national authorities to moving exceptional loads by road. Find out more… pdf - 401 KB [401 KB]

Via Danube

Intershipping of Bulgaria is exploiting the potential of the Danube to carry freight between Bulgaria and Germany. Using the Via Danube for an intermodal service is a "quality alternative" to carrying goods solely by road. Launched initially with four roll-on/roll-off vessels, the service was then expanded to include river-going barges. The big advantage of the service is that customers have precise departure dates and a very good estimate of when the cargo will arrive. Find out more… pdf - 401 KB [401 KB]


Carrying freight by sea between Vaasa in Finland and Umea in Sweden cuts the distance to be covered by 90%. RG Line put the €600,000 Marco Polo grant towards the cost of buying the ship needed to handle more and larger trucks. This in turn enabled it to offer a service across the Kvarken Straits, which could compete with road transport via the overland route round the Gulf of Bothnia. This shifted more than 100m tonne-kilometres from road to sea each year. Find out more… pdf - 416 KB [416 KB]

Sirius 1

Rail is particularly suited for handing single products that are transported in large quantities like bottled water. With the Sirius 1 project, the French mineral water company, SA des Eaux Minérales d'Evian, took the equivalent of 10 000 trucks off the road each year. It also saved enough energy by switching from road to rail for shipments from France to Germany to provide lighting for a town of 320,000 people. Four trains a week travel the route carrying 1 000 tonnes of water each time. Find out more… pdf - 415 KB [415 KB]

Marocco Seaways

The Marocco Seaways service carries goods between the hinter­land of Genoa and Barcelona, and Tangiers in Morocco. Before Italian shipping line, Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), launched this Ro/Pax service, the goods went by road to Algeciras at the southern tip of Spain before crossing the Mediterranean. It took time to convince customers that there was a better and cheaper alternative, so the availability of Marco Polo funding made a critical difference to the initial economics of the project. Find out more… pdf - 377 KB [377 KB]


When times are hard, a Marco Polo grant can be crucial. For IFB Belgium it made the difference in a difficult economic climate between providing a service only whenever its main customer could guarantee enough freight to run a train and launching a regular rail freight service between Belgium and Romania. The new service is a little bit quicker, but above all enables freight to cross Austria and Germany at weekends, when trucks cannot use the roads. It takes 11 500 trucks a year off the road. Find out more… pdf - 395 KB [395 KB]


The Marco Polo programme is a way for smaller but smart operators to take part in an am­bitious project. Without Marco Polo, some partners would probably not have been able to take part in this project to move LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) by rail from Italy to central and eastern Europe.The service to hubs in the Czech Republic and Croatia has cut transport time and improved the predictability of shipments. This means customers can plan on the basis of 'just-in-time' logistics. Find out more… pdf - 432 KB [432 KB]

Gulf Stream

Operated by Brittany Ferries, Gulf Stream is a freight-only roll-on/roll-off service between Santander in northern Spain and Poole in southern England. As it is freight-only, trucks and unaccom­panied trailers do not have to compete for space with tourist vehicles during the holiday season. The service is cheaper and the journey takes less time than trucking goods through France. The service also gets round the weekend ban on heavy trucks using the French national road network. Find out more… pdf - 407 KB [407 KB]


The BaSS project tackled increased competition from road transport around the Baltic after the EU enlargement of 2004. An existing service be­tween Rostock (Germa­ny) and Liepaja (Latvia) was moved to Ventspils and expanded. Synergies were developed with other routes, so that Ventspils became a hub for eastern Europe. Marco Polo funding underwrote start-up costs. Without this funding, the frequency probably would not have been increased. Find out more… pdf - 401 KB [401 KB]

Westmed Bridge

Why go through northern Italy, across southern France and down the Spanish coast to get from Civitavecchia just north of Rome to Barcelona in Spain, when you can go across the Mediterra­nean? The Grimaldi Group's Westmed Bridge freight service is 40% cheaper and one-third faster than going by road. It is also more predictable with fixed sailing schedules. The Marco Polo funding was critical in the purchase of new ships. The Grimaldi Group also saw it as a form of quality mark for its business. Find out more… pdf - 404 KB [404 KB]


The DZRS project is taking the equivalent of more than 25 000 standard containers of cargo off the roads between Duisburg, Germany, and the Belgian ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge each year. Congestion on the roads had been threatening traffic growth. Now, goods can go to and from Duisburg on the DZRS (Duisburg-Zeebrugge Rail Shuttle). Duisburg is a hub for central Europe, notably Austria and Hungary. The Belgian ports are transit points for shipping to the UK and the Far East. Find out more… pdf - 439 KB [439 KB]

Euro Reefer Rail Net

A new rail freight network and innovative multimodal refrigerated containers are at the heart of this project. The aim is to switch freight from 11 long-distance road routes onto rail. These truck routes cross Europe from Finland in the north to Italy in the south, and from Poland in the east to the UK in the west. They are being replaced by a network of nine rail freight services with fixed routes and schedules in response to pressure from environmentally aware manufacturers and customers. Find out more… pdf - 414 KB [414 KB]