Tepid waters: Revenue is expected to increase, but poor infrastructure will threaten industry growth

IBISWorld’s Industry Market Report on Inland Water Transportation is a comprehensive guide to market size and growth prospects. Ensure due diligence in your research with our strategic analysis of the factors influencing companies, including new product developments; economic, lifestyle and demographic influences; distribution and supply chain factors; and pricing issues.


Industry Threats & Opportunities

  • Economic expansion, rising exports and demand from downstream industries will drive industry growth in coming years
  • Many oil producers reduced shipments, decreasing volumes on inland waterways
  • Much of this industry’s growth will be a recovery from falls experienced in recent years

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    Industry Analysis & Industry Trends

    Over the past five years, the Inland Water Transportation industry has experienced significant volatility as stagnant overall freight volume and multiple natural disasters have stifled the industry's growth. At the same time, an early boom in US oil and natural gas production, combined with climbing refined petroleum product output, caused demand for liquid bulk transportation to surge during the first half of the five-year period. However, recent plunges in the world price of crude oil have severely constrained demand for industry services, while also limiting the ability of operators to generate revenue through fuel surcharges...

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    Industry Report - Industry Investment Chapter

    The Inland Water Transportation industry is moderately capital intensive, and industry operators are expected to spend $0.31 on capital investments for every dollar spent on labor costs in 2017. The costs associated with purchasing and maintaining vessels such as towboats, tugboats and barges can be substantial. This is particularly true in petroleum and petrochemical barging, where double-hulled barges have become the norm. Moreover, many of the industry's largest players operate hundreds of vessels, with each ship requiring equipment replacement, while simultaneously depreciating.

    However, the industry also relies on labor inputs, as workers are needed to pilot, navigate and repair industry vessels. In fact, wages paid to industry employees are estimated to account for 20.3% o..

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    Additional Insights for the Inland Water Transportation Industry

    IBISWorld identifies 250 Key Success Factors for a business.The most important for the Inland Water Transportation Industry are

  • Optimum capacity utilization
  • Having a diverse range of clients
  • Ability to pass on cost increases
  • IBISWorld analysts also discuss how external factors such as Industrial production index and Consumer spending in the Inland Water Transportation industry impact industry performance..

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    Industry Products

    What is the Inland Water Transportation Industry?

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing waterborne transportation of cargo and passengers along the nation’s lakes, rivers and other inland waterways.

    Industry Products
    Container transportation
    Towing and tugboat services
    Liquid bulk transportation
    Dry bulk transportation
    Passenger transportation
    Other transportation and value-added services
    Industry Activities
    Canal barge transportation
    Freight transportation on inland waters
    Intracoastal transportation of freight
    Lake freight transportation
    Lighterage (i.e. freight transportation except vessel supply services)
    River freight transportation
    Ship chartering with crew on inland waters
    Shipping freight on inland waters
    Towing services on inland waters

    Table of Contents

    About this Industry
    Industry Definition
    Main Activities
    Similar Industries
    Additional Resources
    Industry at a Glance
    Industry Statistics Snapshot
    Industry Structure
    Executive Summary
    Industry Performance
    Executive Summary
    Key External Drivers
  • Industrial production index
  • Consumer spending
  • Freight transportation services index
  • US oil and gas production index
  • Price of diesel
  • Value of construction

  • Current Performance
  • An uneven performance
  • Oil boom and bust
  • Industry landscape
  • Chart: Revenue Growth

  • Industry Outlook
  • Demand remains uncertain
  • External competition and poor infrastructure
  • Profit and other trends
  • Table: Inland Water Transportation Industry Revenue Outlook

  • Industry Life Cycle
  • Life cycle reasons
  • Chart: Benchmarking - Inland Water Transportation Industry Lifecycle vs The Economy

  • Products & Markets
    Supply Chains
    Key Buying Industries
  • Corn Farming
  • Wheat, Barley & Sorghum Farming
  • Coal Mining
  • Petroleum Refining
  • Petrochemical Manufacturing
  • Consumers

  • Key Selling Industries
  • Boat Building
  • Ship Building
  • Tugboat & Shipping Navigational Services

  • Products & Services
  • Container transportation
  • Towing and tugboat services
  • Other transportation and value-added services
  • Liquid bulk transportation
  • Dry bulk transportation
  • Passenger transportation
  • Chart: Inland Water Transportation Industry Products and Services Segmentation

  • Demand Determinants
    Major Markets
  • Internal and other markets
  • Petroleum and chemical product industries
  • Consumer goods manufacturers
  • Coal-related industries
  • Iron and construction industries
  • Agricultural product industries
  • Individual consumers
  • Chart: Major Market Segmentation for the Inland Water Transportation Industry

  • International Trade
    Business Locations
    Chart: Business Locations by State
    Competitive Landscape
    Market Share Concentration
    Key Success Factors
    Cost Structure Benchmarks
    ProfitPurchasesWagesDepreciationRent, utilities and marketingOther
  • Chart: Cost Structure Benchmarking – Sector vs Inland Water Transportation

  • Basis of Competition
  • Internal competition
  • External competition

  • Barriers to Entry
  • Table: Barrier to Entry Checklist for the Inland Water Transportation Industry

  • Industry Globalization
    Major Companies
    Kirby CorporationIngram Industries Inc. American Commercial Lines LLC
  • Table: Kirby Corporation - financial performance
  • Table: Ingram Industries Inc. - financial performance
  • Table: American Commercial Lines LLC - financial performance

  • Operating Conditions
    Capital Intensity
  • Chart: Level of Capital Intensity for the Inland Water Transportation Industry
  • Chart: Tools of the Trade: Growth Strategies for Success

  • Technology & Systems
    Revenue Volatility
  • Chart: Volatility vs Industry Growth

  • Regulation & Policy
    Industry Assistance
    Key Statistics
    Table: Industry Data for the Inland Water Transportation Industry
  • Industry Revenue (2008-2022)
  • Industry Gross Product (2008-2022)
  • Establishments (2008-2022)
  • Businesses (2008-2022)
  • Employment (2008-2022)
  • Wages (2008-2022)
  • US oil and gas production index (2008-2022)

  • Table: Annual Percentage Change for Key Industry Data
    Table: Key Ratios for Industry Key Data
    Table: Industry Financial Ratios
    Jargon & Glossary
  • A flat-bottomed boat built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Most are not self-propelled and need to be moved by tugboats or towboats.
  • Bulk Cargo
  • Unpackaged cargo (e.g. coal, grain, wood chips and cement) that is transported in large quantities in a vessel's hold.
  • Hopper
  • A large chute used for the temporary storage of materials. The bottom of the chute typically controls the flow of materials, allowing them to be metered out at the desired rate.
  • Intercoastal
  • Extending or operating between sea coasts.
  • Intracoastal
  • Being within and close to the coast or belonging to the inland waters near the coast.
  • Lock
  • A device used to lower boats onto waterways.
  • Tank Barge
  • A barge that hauls liquid cargo (e.g. chemicals, petroleum and fertilizers) in holding tanks inside the hull.
  • The Jones Act
  • Legislation passed in 1920 that restricts waterborne trade within the country to American-owned and -flagged ships, and stipulates that 75.0% of a ship's crew must consist of American citizens.
  • Why buy this report?

    IBISWorld industry market research reports enable you to:
    • Find out about key industry trends
    • Identify threats and opportunities
    • Inform your decisions for marketing, strategy and planning
    • Quickly build competitive intelligence
    This report on Inland Water Transportation:
    • Provides Market Size information to assist with planning and strategic decisions.
    • Includes the necessary information to perform SWOT, PEST and STEER analysis.
    • Helps you understand market dynamics to give you a deeper understanding of industry competition and the supply chain.
    • Analyses key performance and operational metrics so that you can benchmark against your own business, that of your customers’ businesses, or your competitors’ businesses.
    The Inland Water Transportation market research report includes:
    • Historical data and analysis for the key drivers of this industry
    • A five-year forecast of the market and noted trends
    • Detailed research and segmentation for the main products and markets
    • An assessment of the competitive landscape and market shares for major companies
    • And of course, much more

    IBISWorld reports on thousands of industries around the world. Our clients rely on our information and data to stay up-to-date on industry trends across all industries. With this IBISWorld Industry Research Report on Inland Water Transportation, you can expect thoroughly researched, reliable and current information that will help you to make faster, better business decisions.

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