Abstract: There are approximately 7,000 miles of inland waterways in the UK, many of them built during the 18th and 19th centuries principally to transport bulk materials. These waterways provide numerous benefits to society and the economy. However, they have untapped potential for freight transport which could be released to provide more efficient solutions compared to other modes of transport. In addition to providing solutions to reduce emissions from land or air transportation, inland waterways also bring environmental and public health benefits to local communities. Therefore, these blue-green spaces should play a central role in government and local authority planning. This article explores some of the issues which prevent full use of inland waterways transportation from being achieved from the hydrodynamics point of view. Specifically, the concepts and ideas underpinning vessel operation are reviewed and discussed in detail in this article. It is shown how hydrodynamic concepts can inform public policy to maximise the efficiency of transportation from inland waterways.
Keywords: freight transport; hydrodynamics; inland navigation; inland waterways; shallow water hydrodynamics; United Kingdom; vessel performance