2011 年 2011 巻 31 号 p. 186-203
The Marco Polo Project was first proposed in a 2001 transportation white paper which followed from the PACT Project, a project which supported a modal shift (intermodal transport) in physical distribution in Europe from 1992 to 2001. The Marco Polo Project is funded by the European Union. It began in 2003 for the purpose of achieving sustainable and efficient improvement of the EU’s transportation division.
The Marco Polo Project II has been in operation since 2007. More ambitious and larger in scale than its predecessor, it also covers Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and even the Balkan and Mediterranean countries. The Marco Polo Project II includes a budget of 740 million euros to convert the annual 23 billion tons of truck-transported freight to railroad and sea transportation. This conversion is expected to enable the project to achieve its goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 8.4 billion kilograms.
Since the unification of the European countries, the amount of transportation by trucks has steadily increased, and is expected to increase by 60％ by 2013, compared with 2006. Meanwhile, traffic jams, air pollution, and increased CO2 emissions continue to grow more serious. Therefore, it is urgent to swiftly shift from road transportation to railroad and sea transportation.
However, shifting from truck transportation, which is relatively inexpensive and also convenient due to its door-to-door delivery, to railroad and sea transportation faces many challenges. Some of the railroad transportation infrastructure is decrepit. There have also been delays in the construction of port facilities for sea transportation, including container terminals. Furthermore, it is necessary to improve the existing physical distribution facilities and logistics parks to adjust to the modal shift.
This paper verifies the circumstances and significance of the Marco Polo Projects and the modal shift in transportation in Europe so far. It also points out the accomplishments and challenges of the projects, and examines the establishment of physical distribution networks in the European Union.