About inland waterway freight

Canals and rivers are an underused resource in this country, though many on the continent carry substantial commercial and passenger traffic. Inland waterways are perfect for large and/or dangerous loads for ‘one-off’  or regular delivery.

Currently such loads are carried by road on large vehicles, adding to congestion, noise, energy usage, air pollution, and accidents.

An independent report produced by Urbecon Ltd for Hackney Council in 2007, found that the council could save 60,000 lorry miles and 3,500 operating hours if it used its canals, would ‘significantly reduce waste management costs’ and cut emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants by half.

Government should make use of the canals for the purpose for which they were originally built and help to cut carbon emissions.


David Lowe, CBOA chairman

Please don’t let people get hung up on speed.

Goods loaded in the docks at Hull can be delivered by barge by next day to anywhere in the NE waterway system e.g. Leeds/Rotherham– this is sometimes quicker than using rail freight.  It is quicker than having lorries go back and forth which would take several days to move the equivalent of say two barge loads.

Any goods needed urgently could be moved by lorry, but most freight goes into storage somewhere – this is why warehousing and storage is so vital to inland depots whether road, rail or water served.

FH: Leyland

Forget about putting a transformer on a barge: they’re as wide as the canal and bridges would be a problem. River barges used in Germany, US and Canada can carry 10,000 tons and more..

Reply: “It’s been done!” Recommended news here and map.

John Dodwell (CBOA) 

MP David Drew is a keen Cotswold Canal restoration supporter and very active in supporting British Waterways/ IWA 10 years ago against Defra grant cuts.

Audrey Miller, York 

Audrey, a keen environmentalist, had just attended a transport conference where a keynote speaker David Banister – Professor Emeritus of Transport Studies at Oxford University, Transport Studies Unit – referred to the efficiency of water transport.




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