This study aims to quantify the impact of black carbon from inland shipping on air quality, expressed as elemental carbon (EC) near inland waterways in The Netherlands. Downwind measurements of particle numbers and EC were used to establish emission factors for EC from inland shipping using inverse modelling. These emission factors were combined with data on energy consumption to derive annual average emissions rates for all Dutch waterways. A line source model was applied to compute the contribution of inland shipping to annual average EC concentrations for around 140,000 people living within 200m of busy waterways in The Netherlands. The results showed that they are exposed to additional EC concentrations of up to 0.5μgEC per m3 depending on the shipping volume and distance from the waterway. In view of the envisaged growth in water transport, this underlines the need to reduce combustion emissions from inland shipping. Targeting "gross" polluters may be the most effective approach since 30% of ships cause more than 80% of the total emissions. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.