Marco Polo heads for the sea
14 Apr 2011
The Italian port of Livorno will be at one end of the new Marco Polo route.
Following a thorough selection and negotiation process, 32 new Marco Polo projects are set to receive a share of the €57m funds earmarked under the 2010 Call for proposals.
Marco Polo is the EU funding programme for freight transporters, shippers and logistic operators that are committed to the sustainable transport of goods across Europe. Marco Polo pursues the reduction of congestion on Europe's roads by shifting freight off the road to more environmentally friendly modes of transport, such as short-sea shipping, rail and inland waterways.
Within their project lifespan, these 32 projects are expected to either shift off Europe's roads or remove at source more than 15 billion t/km in total, which is the equivalent of 450,000 trucks travelling between Hamburg and Vienna.
The 32 projects include 26 modal shift actions, which take freight off the roads and transfer it to alternative modes of transport. There are four common learning actions, which aim at sharing knowledge and know how in the transport and logistics sector. One motorways of the sea action combines short sea shipping with other modes of transport, and there is one traffic avoidance action, which reduces the amount of freight to be transported on road while making the entire supply chain more efficient.
The MP Spait proposal calls for a new short sea shipping service between the Port of Almeria, located in the Spanish region of Andalusia, and the Northern Italy port of Livorno, focusing on the transport of the main traded goods transported between those regions
Considering the absence of a such a service between ports located in the regions and the high volumes of goods transported between them, in particular olive oil and its derivates, plastic materials, boilers, machinery, grease and chalk, transported exclusively by road, the MP Spait project will achieve a substantial shift of goods from the road to sea transport, relieving the current traffic congestion of trucks crossing the Pyrenees in those directions.
The current road transport of trailers will be replaced by the short sea shipping service, performed by a ro-ro/pax vessel with a capacity for some 105 trailers and a service speed of about 16 knots, resulting in a one way transit time of 47 hours.
With 101 proposals received by the call deadline, the third Marco Polo II call for project proposals attracted a record number of submissions in 2010, with a total funding request of €235m, against an annual programme budget of €64m.
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