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

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Eye witness

European Union support is important for us and sends a powerful signal to the market that our project has a European dimension.

Karel Van Zijl, Spliethoff's Bevrachtingskantoor, Amsterdam

Motorways of the sea actions

Motorways of the sea actions

Motorways of the Sea actions offer a door-to-door service which combines short-sea shipping with other forms of transport. These actions innovate in terms of logistics, equipment, products and services. In addition, they are selected because of what they offer in quality of service, simpler procedures and inspections, higher safety and security standards, access to ports, efficient hinterland connections, and flexible and efficient port services.

Plain sailing between France and Spain

Between 2007 and 2009, of the 70 actions which received grants, only two were in this category, one in 2007 and one in 2009. Both involve easing traffic congestion between France and Spain. Ro-Ro Past France pdf - 409 KB [409 KB] is a freight ferry service sailing between Bilbao in northern Spain and Zeebrugge in Belgium (hyperlink). FRES MOS is a service between St Nazaire in France and Gijón in Spain.

A public-private match

One of the differences between Motorways of the Sea projects and other projects using short-sea shipping is the complementarity with the Trans-European Networks Motorways of the Sea network. The Trans-European Networks (TEN) programme finances public-sector infrastructure which will create networks. Marco Polo finances private-sector transport services and ancillary infrastructure using those networks. Marco Polo Motorways of the Sea actions are, as a result, only for projects using larger ports, i.e. those with a total annual traffic volume of not less than 1.5 million tonnes of freight and/or 200,000 passengers per year. This type of funding is intended for very large volume, high frequency services. They must keep road journeys to a minimum. That can include integrating short-sea shipping with rail and/or inland waterway services.

Motorways of the Sea actions must lead to a shift of an average of 200 million tkm per year per contract. A subsidy of up to 35% of the cost of the action is available, but the subsidy can never be more than €2 for each 500 tkm or 2 000 m3km 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'.