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March 31, 2016


The US inland barge fleet expanded 2.8 percent during 2015 with the dry fleet up 2.5 percent and liquid fleet up 4.5 percent. As at the end of 2015, there were 928 new barges added to the overall fleet while 376 barges were retired, according to the Informa Economics IEG just-released Barge Fleet Profile. Among the different barge types, the number of covered barges increased, open barges declined, and the number of tank barges hit a new record.

"This information remains vital given the enormous requirements being placed on the industry and the inland waterway infrastructure," said IEG Chief Executive Officer Tom Scott about the report. He added that "IEG appreciates the value of the industry's contribution to the report's development," which is compiled through an annual survey of operators and information from the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).

The Barge Fleet Profile, now in its 29th year, summarizes the size and average age of the fleet by barge operator for each barge type and identifies the line haul, commodity carrying fleet of inland barges operating on the Mississippi River system, its connecting waterways and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The report also includes the covered barges that move grains and oilseeds, fertilizers, steel and other products, as well as open barges that haul coal, sand, gravel and similar product types. Details on tank barges that transport liquid products, such as crude oils and renewable fuels, also are incorporated into the report.

A sister publication, the Barge Commodity Profile, in its 12th year of publication, also has been just released by IEG, offering exclusive barge pressure indices that provide a valuable tool in assessing supply and demand for barges. The report also offers 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 Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. IEG utilizes data from the Corps Waterborne Commerce of the US through 2014. Movements in covered barge were of a record size during 2014 and tank volumes hit a seven-year high. IEG then estimates barge volumes through 2015, with covered barge movements showing a slight decline and open volumes falling further, while tank barge movements increased slightly. In 2015, the Barge Pressure Index is expected to have fallen for all barge types.

These reports are available from IEG, either through the Internet at or by calling Pam Daniel at 901-766-4513. The Barge Fleet Profile is available for $100 per unit while the Barge Commodity Profile is available for $450. The reports can be purchased together for a special price of $500. For more information about the report, contact IEG Senior Vice President Ken Eriksen at 901-766-4463 or IEG Senior Consultant Alan Barrett at 901-766-4497. A special webinar will be available on April 20 at 10 a.m. (CDT) to those who purchased the reports.

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