March 17, 2009
Barge fleet grows
The U.S. inland barge fleet expanded for the third consecutive year. While still below the historical high of 1998, 1,076 new barges were added to the overall fleet last year while 935 barges were retired, according to the latest Barge Fleet Profile report fromInforma Economics, Inc.
Among the different barge types, the number of covered barges declined for the tenth consecutive year while the number of open and tank fleet barges increased.
Informa has also released the sister publication, the Barge Commodity Profile, offering barge "pressure" indices, a tool for assessing the supply and demand for barges. The report also presents barometers of barge fleet size and movements by commodity type, commodity ton miles and average distance hauled on the Mississippi River system, its connecting waterways and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
The most recent Informa pressure indices show that while the barge fleet has increased, the inland covered barge pressure index has doubled over the last four years. At the same time, the open barge pressure index has eased while the tank barge pressure index (at its highest level in 2007) relaxed toward the end of 2008.
More at www.bargefleet.com