A barge is a flat-bottomed ship that was built primarily to carry heavy goods on rivers and canals. Some barges are not self-propelled and must be pulled or pushed by tugs, canal barges, or draft animals on an adjacent towpath.

Growing export and import trade and improving economic conditions in most parts of the world play an important role in stimulating market growth. Increasing domestic trade increases the need for an efficient means of transport. Inland shipping can particularly meet this need. In addition, advances in barge manufacturing technologies are expected to further fuel the growth of the market over the forecast period.

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The market has immense potential for growth during the forecast period due to several factors including increasing investments and initiatives by various governments to develop effective inland water infrastructure and research activities by large established industry companies to develop new designs and modernize existing designs of barges. For example, hybrid LNG ships can be seen as a fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional diesel-powered ships.

Barges can be mainly divided into three types, namely covered, open and tank. Covert types are mainly used for the transportation of dry goods such as agricultural products, pharmaceutical products, and electronic and digital equipment. On the other hand, tank tanks are used to transport raw materials such as crude oil, petrochemicals and liquid chemicals, as well as food pulps and juices.

In terms of the type of cargo, the market is divided into liquid cargo, gaseous cargo, and dry cargo. The Liquid Freight segment includes the transportation of petrochemicals, refined petroleum products, printed products, liquid fertilizers and black oil products. Gaseous cargo includes the transportation of products such as LPG and CNG. The dry freight segment includes the transportation of goods such as coal, fertilizers and grain.

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It is estimated that dry cargo will dominate the market by 2028 as large volumes of coal as well as growing volumes of agricultural produce are transported in barges. However, the dwindling demand for coal is likely to slow the segment’s growth in the coming years. On the flip side, the liquid cargo segment is likely to see a significant CAGR over the forecast period due to increasing demand for petrochemicals and increasing production of shale oil in the US
Major players in this market include Campbell Transportation Company, Inc .; Change logistics; American Commercial Lines LLC; Heartland barge; and Kirby Corporation.

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