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Barge Transportation Market Size By Product (Dry Cargo, Liquid Cargo, Gaseous Cargo), By Barge Fleet (Open, Covered, Tank), By Application (Coal & Crude Petroleum, Agricultural Products, Coke & Refined Petroleum Products, Metal Ores, Secondary Raw Materials & Wastes, Food Products, Beverages & Tobacco, Basic Metals & Fabricated Metal Products, Chemicals, Rubber & Plastic, Nuclear Fuel), Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook, Application Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2020 – 2026

  • Report ID: GMI1945
  • Published Date: Apr 2020
  • Report Format: PDF

Industry Trends

Barge Transportation Market size valued at USD 40 billion in 2019 and is estimated to grow at over 4% CAGR between 2020 and 2026. Cargo shipments are projected to reach 4 billion tons by 2026. Rising trade activities of commodities including refined petroleum and metal ores across the globe will drive the industry growth.

Increasing offshore crude oil production is further boosting the market revenue. Moreover, the emergence of advanced technologies for faster navigation & communication coupled with declining price of electronic products is anticipated to propel the demand.

Barge Transportation Market

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The barge transportation market is positively influenced by fundamental forces of supply-demand that are affected by numerous factors including navigation circumstances, domestic weather patterns, local & international consumption of industrial and agricultural products, steel prices, trade policies, and crop production. Increasing agricultural production along with rising agricultural export & import activities are providing a positive outlook to the market.

The major factor challenging the industry is high operating cost associated with barge transportation, such as maintenance, repair, replacement, fuel, and labor. The other costs include maintenance of heavy machinery and equipment, infrastructure, and port facilities. However, high ROI is expected to attract viable service providers inducing immense growth potential.

The impact of COVID-19 has led in reduction in import and export activities, which is poised to hamper the barge transportation market in FY2020. According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the global economy can shrink by about one percent in 2020, posing a challenge to the market growth.

Increasing demand for cost-effective transportation solution for dry commodities

The dry cargo product demand is predicted to cross USD 22 billion by 2026 impelled by rising demand for coal, iron ore, and grains, particularly in the U.S., Germany, and Asia Pacific countries. Furthermore, growing need for cost-effective transportation of products, such as steel, ore, gravel, and lumber will spur the barge transportation market value.

High production volumes of dry bulk commodities require competitive transportation, making barge transportation a preferred choice for end users, supporting the market trend. Innovation in the shipping sector of dry cargo is bringing a new barge transportation business model such as online freight platform. Through the platform, shippers can provide the best price to haul goods, such as copper and iron ore, to their customers. This new business model bypasses the brokers, supports in minimizing the shipping cost, and brings in high operational efficiency.

Growing chemicals and petrochemicals import & export activities

Global Barge Transportation Market By Barge Fleet

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The tank barges segment captured around 25% of the barge transportation market share in 2020 on account of rising exports and imports of chemical and petrochemicals across the globe. According to the European Chemical Industry Council, the European Union (EU) chemical industry exports reached USD 175 million in 2018, providing ample market opportunities to the service providers. The rising domestic and international trade of LNG has encouraged the industry participants to make significant investments for purchasing new barge fleet.

Positive outlook for the global agriculture industry will foster the market revenue

The agricultural application segment exceeded USD 4 billion revenue in 2019 and is set to witness a growth rate of over 4.5% from 2020 to 2026. The positive outlook of the agricultural industry is creating a huge demand for efficient & enhanced logistics services. Agricultural products are majorly transported via hopper covered barges owing to their weather protection advantage.

Increasing agricultural production across Asia Pacific and North America will further enhance the barge transportation market growth. The agriculture sector contributes significantly to the GDP of several countries including the U.S., India, and China. Additionally, farmers and agricultural product distributors prefer barge transportation due to its low cost and high efficiency.

Increasing investments in new port terminal developments across Europe

Europe Barge Transportation Market By Region

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The Europe barge transportation market size surpassed a valuation of USD 14 billion in 2019. The rising investment in port terminal developments are positively influencing the regional market demand. For instance, in February 2020, QTerminals announced that it will invest around USD 120 million in a Ukrainian port to increase container, oil & bulk trade and work for tugboats in the country.

The UK inland waterways offer a network of over 2,000 miles, which provides a wide range of opportunities to the barge transportation service providers. Also, the presence of various major ports in the country including Howden, Corpach, Sharpness, Caldaire, Selby, and Weston Point is supporting the market statistics.

The Netherlands is strategically located at the Rhine-Scheldt Delta, offering an important mode of international transportation. The improvements in the barge transportation fleet size and cooperation between private and public shipping partners are driving factors for the barge transportation market growth. However, several countries across Europe are planning to shut down coal production in the coming years.

Offering enhanced customer services is the key strategy by leading market players

Barge transportation service providers are engaged in offering distinct types of facilities such as infrastructure, warehouses, intermodal shipment, and shipping documents. Intermodal shipment services include transportation facilities via different modes. Storage or warehouses are offered by service providers for storing goods to be imported or exported. Administrative documents include the management of river transport certificates, insurance, etc.

Some of the key barge transportation market players include American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL), SEACOR Holdings, Campbell Transportation Company, Ingram Marine Group, APL Logistics, Kirby Corporation, and Crowley Maritime Corporation.

This barge transportation market research report includes in-depth coverage of the industry with estimates & forecast in terms of revenue in USD and cargo shipments in million tons from 2015 to 2026 for the following segments:

Market by Product

  • Dry cargo
  • Liquid cargo
  • Gaseous cargo

Market by Barge Fleet

  • Opened
  • Covered
  • Tank Barge

Market by Application

  • Coal and crude petroleum
  • Agricultural products
  • Coke and refined petroleum products
  • Metal ores
  • Secondary raw materials and wastes
  • Food products, beverages, and tobacco
  • Basic metals, fabricated metal products
  • Chemicals, rubber & plastic, nuclear fuel
  • Others

The above information has been provided for the following regions and countries:

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • UK
    • France
    • Belgium
    • Netherlands
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • India
    • Japan
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
  • MEA


Authors: Preeti Wadhwani, Prasenjit Saha

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) :

The barge transportation market size crossed USD 40 billion in 2019 and is projected to observe 4% CAGR from 2020 to 2026.

The agricultural application segment exceeded USD 4 billion market revenue in 2019 and is set to witness a growth rate of over 4.5% from 2020 to 2026.

According to the analysts at GMI, the dry cargo segment in the market is predicted to cross USD 22 billion by 2026.

Some of the key players operating in the market include American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL), SEACOR Holdings, Campbell Transportation Company, Ingram Marine Group, APL Logistics, Kirby Corporation, and Crowley Maritime Corporation.

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Premium Report Details

  • Base Year: 2019
  • Companies covered: 23
  • Tables & Figures: 318
  • Countries covered: 12
  • Pages: 260

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