Doubling Down on Inland Waterways: Gigantic Barges Are Anchoring America’s Supply Chain Resilience


To alleviate the pressure on an increasingly burdened supply chain, could gigantic barges on inland waterways offer a way forward?

Amidst the backdrop of a rapidly transforming logistics landscape, the U.S. is harnessing the enhanced capabilities of inland waterway gigantic barges to fortify its supply chain. As logistical norms pivot in response to environmental challenges and shifting economic pressures, such as drought-induced waterway disruptions and increased transportation costs, innovative solutions like the container-on-vessel (COV) service are emerging. This service, supported by significant infrastructure investments, seeks to streamline the flow of oversized cargo through expansive marine highway systems, offering a promising alternative to overburdened land transportation networks.

Further strengthening this network, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced the addition of two new marine highway systems, extending 250 miles to the Ohio River system and 6,500 miles of Alaskan waterways. This expansion is part of a broader effort to enhance the efficiency of freight shipments, improve port operations, and maintain affordability in the supply chain​​.

How are these evolving capacities of inland waterway gigantic barges reshaping the domestic supply chain management landscape, especially in transporting oversized cargo?

In addressing this critical aspect of logistics, Pradip Shukla, Ph.D. an Associate Professor of Management at Chapman University, emphasizes the increasingly crucial role of these gigantic barges, particularly as they grow in capacity and offer cost-effective solutions amidst rising labor and transportation costs in other sectors. “In the past, we would have up to 1500 tons capacity on a barge, and now we’re seeing that the newer barges are twice as large in terms of capacity, and they do play an important role, and they’ll continue to play an important role, especially if labor costs have increased for truckers, there’s shortages of truckers available, and rail costs have also increased, so the barges will continue to play an important role in domestic supply chain management,” Shukla said.

Article by James Kent

Follow us on social media for the latest updates in B2B!


standing out from the competition
Standing Out From the Competition
November 30, 2023

In a crowded marketplace, authenticity could be the strongest differentiator in standing out from the competition. Actor and Keynote Speaker Greg Bryk shares his insights on making a mark, on-screen and in the B2B arena. Bryk emphasizes the power of authenticity over pandering to the audience. He explains, “The way to stick out from […]

Read More
Marine Corps
How Marines Master Communications Through Radio
November 29, 2023

Amid the chaos of the battlefield, the mastery of radio communication can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Marine Corps Veteran Jacob Dent provides a comprehensive look at the pivotal role of single-channel radios in ensuring operational success and safety for Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton and in global operations. The video delves […]

Read More
IC System's dedicated team
IC System – Meet Our Collectors
November 29, 2023

At IC System, the language of empathy speaks louder than the transactions of debt collection. In a compelling video feature, IC System’s dedicated team casts a spotlight on their unique approach—combining heartfelt empathy with innovative solutions to navigate the often challenging landscape of financial obligations. IC System champions a path of compassion, delving deep […]

Read More