The National Waterways Foundation (NWF) in the USArecently released an updated national study comparing selected societal, environmental and safety impacts of using inland river barge freight transport to road and rail freight transport.
Entitled “A Modal Comparison of Domestic Freight Transportation Effects on the General Public: 2001-2014 (January 2017),” the study was conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute’s Center for Port & Waterways.
In comparing the freight capacity of trucks, trains and inland river barges, the study found that one 15-barge river tow has the same capacity as 1,050 freight lorries and 216 rail freight containers pulled by six locomotives. The study noted that a barge transporting wheat carries enough product to make almost 2.5 million loaves of bread.
The study also addressed the amount of freight currently transported on major rivers; it was found equivalent to more than 49 million freight lorry trips annually. In fact, the study showed that the hypothetical diversion of current waterway freight traffic to the nation’s highways would add 1,046 freight trucks to the current 875 trucks per day per lane on a typical rural interstate highway.