Turns out shipping by barge is crazy efficient. It's also kind of picturesque! (According to this video from CNN there are no mules anymore, but we choose to imagine mules to up the picturesqueness factor.) 

Instead of noisy lorries (that's British for trucks), shipping containers are moved from the coast inland to Manchester on barges. The trip takes six hours, but it cuts emissions by up to 65 percent.

The Manchester ship canal, finished in 1894, hasn't been good for much lately, but the plan is to increase barge traffic on it by a factor of 20. Completion of new depots and a deepwater port at its origin should help make it a viable alternative to overland transport.

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Sure, canals are about as sexy as fanny packs (that’s British for vagina packs). But they're also super functional, so they're something the Brits are way ahead of us on, like carbon taxes and parliamentary government.