On 10 February the EU asked the industry for ideas to create and update European freight transport services under the Marco Polo freight programme. Companies can submit proposals to fight congestion and improve the environmental performance of the freight transport system. The main objective of the programme is to take as much freight as possible off the roads onto shortsea shipping, rail and inland waterways. Proposals for change and improvement can come under five main headings:
1. Modal shift of freight – using transport modes other than road
2. Overcoming the structural barriers in the freight transport market
3. Improving co-operation and working practices between the actors in the freight transport chain
4. Motorways of the sea – looking at using short sea shipping combined with other methods more efficiently
5. Traffic avoidance – more integration of transport with production to reduce the demand for freight transport by road.
Funding will be available from the EU for start-up costs.