The Marco Polo programme aimed to ease road congestion and the pollution it causes by promoting a switch to greener transport modes for European freight traffic. Companies with viable projects to shift freight from roads to greener modes could turn to Marco Polo for financial support.
Marco Polo co-funded direct modal-shift or traffic avoidance projects and projects providing supporting services which enable freight to switch from road to other modes efficiently and profitably.
Funding was in the form of an outright grant, not a loan to be repaid later. Applicants must have met a series of conditions to obtain a grant. Grants covered a share of costs associated with the launch and operation of a new modal-shift project, but must have been supported by results.
As of 1 January 2014 INEA managed the legacy 2007-2013 Marco Polo programme, taking over from the former EACI (now EASME) Executive Agency.