Recent oil discoveries in Venezuela and West African countries coupled with increasing investments pertaining to the development of small ports and canal systems have fuelled the barge market globally. Many leading barge manufacturers have achieved record earnings driven primarily by strong marine fuel sales. Barge manufacturing companies are revamping their barge facilities to add more production slots. Today numerous shipping companies maintain a fleet of barges for moving materials of varying sizes from large ships.
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Segmentation of the barge market can be done on the basis of technology, applications and geography based on both manufacturing facility and end user locations. Depending upon the technology employed, barges may be classified as unpowered or powered barges.
The unpowered barges move according to the water current or use a tugboat to drag it across the water channels. In this case both the first mate and the captain remain in the tugboats, as the tugboat provides power and steers the barge. On the other hand powered barges are self propelled and do not require a tug boat’s assistance. On self propelled barges the captain and the first mate are on the barge itself.
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The Barge market is fragmented in nature, with several small companies and private barge owners competing for market share.
Some key players in the barge manufacturing market are Kirby Freeport, Marine systems Included, Greenbrier Company, Ingram Barge Company, Bowcrest Marine, KBH Marine Industry Sdn.Bhd, Navios South American Logistics Inc., and Ultrapetrol Limited and others.