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 (U.S., Canada, Germany, UK, France, France, Belgium, Netherlands, China, India, Japan, Brazil, Mexico), Application Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2017 – 2024

Published Date: August 2017 | 220 Pages | Report ID: GMI1945 Report Format: PDF

  Request Sample Inquiry Before Buying
Summary Table of Contents Industry Coverage Methodology Request for Customization

Industry Trends

Barge Transportation Market size was valued at over USD 115 billion in 2016.

U.S. Barge Transportation Market Size, By Product, 2013 – 2024 (USD Billion)
U.S. Barge Transportation Market Size, By Product, 2013 – 2024 (USD Billion)


A barge is a flat-bottomed base used for carrying a huge capacity of heavy goods through waterways. The movement of barges can be categorized as pushing and towing through tow boats or self-propelled. A single barge can carry up to 1,500-2,000 tons of weight normally. Maximum traders and petrochemical companies use barge transportation as the major means of transportation. Increasing imports and exports across the world will boost the barge transportation market growth in the forecast timespan.

Increasing intermodal transportation in various industries is driving the barge transportation market size. Capabilities to facilitate effective customer service and contribution toward greater regional accessibility will provide stable growth prospects over the forecast timeline. Increased safety and security factors along with user-friendly software solutions are likely to result in significant adoption rates.

High initial cost associated with fleet construction is considered as a major restricting factor for the barge transportation service providers. The delivery time, climatic conditions, and limitations of international waterways have led to sluggish growth rate for the barge transportation market. However, a high ROI is likely to attract viable service providers and provide a stable growth platform over the forecast years.

Barge Transportation Market, By Product

Dry cargo accounted for over 45% market share in 2016 and will is anticipated to continue its dominance owing to excessive shipments of coal, metal ores, and agricultural products. Moreover, the high revenue generation is attributed to increasing demand from low-value bulk industries for the transportation of items such as municipal waste and recyclable materials including metals, glass, paper, metal scraps

Liquid cargo is anticipated to grow at fastest pace over the forecast timeline owing to increasing petrochemical shipments across the globe. Increasing demand of crude oil, liquid chemicals, and agricultural fertilizers will propel the liquid cargo market over the coming years. Numerous industries are preferring barge transportation as the primary mode of liquid cargo transportation. This will induce immense potential to barge transportation market size till 2024.

Barge Transportation Market, By Application

Coal and crude oil accounted for highest share of over 19 billion in 2016 and is anticipated to cross 30 billion by 2024. Rising coal shipments for barges to import in countries with scarcity of coal will support the barge transportation market growth. Rising demand for crude oil in various regions, especially North America owing to the technological advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has increased its oil production in the last decade.

In the U.S., the production of crude oil has increased from 3.8 million barrels per day to almost 9 million barrels, i.e., almost 137% increase. Owing to the increased production of crude oil, export to various countries has increased substantially, that will fuel the crude oil barge transportation market till 2024. Coke and refined petroleum products are expected to grow at fastest growth rate owing to shifting preference of oil & gas industries towards barge transportation due to lesser spillage and greater capacity as compared to other modes will boost the barge transportation market size over the forecast timeframe.

Barge Transportation Market, By Barge Fleet

Covered barge accounted for highest share in barge transportation with over USD 39 billion in 2016 is projected to cross USD 63 billion in the forecast timeframe owing to increased usage of covered barges across the globe due to uncertain weather conditions. Shifting preference towards covered barges is also attributed to their larger capacity as compared to open barges.

Tank barges will witness fastest growth rate owing to increasing petrochemical shipments across the globe. Barge transportation market players are investing heavily in increasing the barge capacity and raise the number of barges in their portfolio owing to the increasing petrochemicals demand. For instance, in 2016, Kirby Corporation took a delivery of a tugboat unit and 155,000-barrel articulated tank barge for the transportation of ethanol from Great Lakes to the Northeast region. Increased production of crude oil has escalated the tank barges’ demand considerably over past years.

Barge Transportation Market, By Region

Asia Pacific is poised to account for highest revenue share in the barge transportation market crossing USD 45 billion owing to large waterways channel availability. Increasing local and international trading activities of non-renewable materials and chemicals will propel the regional growth in the forecast timeline. Moreover, rising freight traffic on inland and coastal waterways across the region has fostered the Asia Pacific market growth.

North America is anticipated to grow at fastest pace from 2017 to 2024 owing to increasing petrochemical shipments in the region. Industry players are investing heavily on increasing the number of barges in their fleet and modernization of existing fleet. For instance, in 2014, Kirby Corporation spent USD 135 million for the construction of 66 new inland barges and in 2016, Kirby invested USD 231 million to expand its business along the U.S. Gulf coast.

Competitive Market Share

Kirby Corporation, American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL), Ingram Marine Group, and SEACOR Holdings are among the prominent players in the barge transportation market. Other notable players in the industry include Heartland Barge, Campbell Transportation, ABC India Ltd., Canal Barge, PTC Logistics, and PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH).

Industry players focus on adopting aggressive strategies such as mergers and acquisitions for strengthening their foothold. For instance, in March 2016, Kirby Corporation acquired SEACOR Holdings’ inland fleet from its subsidiaries that included 27 inland barges and 13 towboats at USD 88 million to increase its customer base and expand its fleet. In October 2015, ACL completed the acquisition of AEP River operations at USD 550 million for expansion of operations in shipment and logistics.

In May 2012, Ingram Marine Group acquired United Barge Line to strengthen its workforce and footprint in the industry. This acquisition also helped the company to expand its product portfolio by adding 17 towboats and 650 barges. Moreover, in the same year, the U.S. barge operators purchased 336 tank barges with a total capacity of 8.2 million barrels.

Barge Transportation Industry Background

Barge Transportation Market Segmentation

A barge is flat-bottomed base used for carrying huge capacity heavy goods through waterways. The standard barge is (195*35) feet that can be used to a 9-feet draft having a capacity of about 1500 tons. Few new barges are 290*50 feet, that is double the capacity of traditional barges. A tow boat is required to pull a barge whose size ranges from (117*30) feet to (200*45) feet. They may draft anywhere from 6.5 feet to 9.0 feet and its engine can produce power approximately from few hundred horsepower to 10k horsepower. The average tow can carry 15 barges tied together but flotillas may carry 40 barges depending on river segments being navigated, cargo type, and size of the towboat.

Primary commodities moved by barge fleet on the waterways system are grain, petrochemical products, and coal. Other products include wood & umber products, gravel & sand and paper & pulp. Barge transports 450 million barrels of chemical, and 1 billion of petroleum products. Commonly used barge types are hopper barges, open hoppers, covered dry cargo barges, deck barges, and tank barges. Inland waterways are efficient as one barge can carry five times its own weight. Capacity of the large barge is 1500 tons which is equal to 60 times more than one truck and 15 times more than a rail car.

The barge transportation market is expected to witness a substantial growth owing to the surging demand from applications such as petrochemicals and gaseous products. The introduction of navigation & communication technology and the reduced cost of barge shipment provide high growth prospects over the forecast time frame. In the U.S., about 817,000 shipments are made daily, which consists of hazardous material of 5 million tons. The heavy and risky bulk material transportation demands for a legal framework in the industry. However, the climatic conditions may hamper the operating conditions, which must be taken into consideration while shipping the goods.

What Information does this report contain?

Historical data coverage: 2013 to 2016; Growth Projections: 2017 to 2024.
Expert analysis: industry, governing, innovation and technological trends; factors impacting development; drawbacks, SWOT.
6-7 year performance forecasts: major segments covering applications, top products and geographies.
Competitive landscape reporting: market leaders and important players, competencies and capacities of these companies in terms of production as well as sustainability and prospects.

Our Market Research Reports Include:

  • Market snapshot
  • Market Segmentation
  • Value Chain Analysis
  • Growth Dynamics
  • Potential Market Opportunities
  • Regulatory Overview
  • Technology Evolution
  • Innovation & Sustainability

Why Global Market Insights?

 Comprehensive Research
  • All-inclusive coverage
  • In-depth and granular data (ex: information for 8 to 15 countries, with clients open to add to this list, in each report)
  • Penetrative insights & latest trends
  • Offers holistic understanding of the market
 Data Accuracy & Reliability
  • Unique methodology
  • Iterative in nature to eliminate errors
  • Detailed methodology, scope, assumptions and data sources available for reference
 Post-Sales Support
  • Committed to making a positive difference for our clients
  • Given the nature of this industry, we are committed to ensure that our clients get maximum return on their investment in our services
  • Every purchase comes with an option to obtain additional information:
    • up to 10% of the original cost
    • 45-minute analyst tele-call to obtain further clarity on the market.
 Security & Confidentiality
  • Global Market Insights, Inc. strictly adheres to PCI-DSS security norms.
  • Only PCI-DSS compliant payment methods used for highest level of client data security
This site is protected by Trustwave's Trusted Commerce program Authorize.Net Merchant - Click to Verify

Connect with our sales team