Facts About the American Tugboat, Towboat and Barge Industry
1. On our nation's inland waterways and coasts, America's tugboat,
towboat and barge industry:
- transports 20% of America's coal - enough to produce 10% of
all electricity used each year in the U.S.
- moves over 60% of U.S. grain exports, helping American farmers
compete with foreign producers
- carries most of New England's home heating oil and gasoline
2. Today's fleet of nearly 4,000 modern tugboats
and towboats and more than 27,000 barges
moves over 800 million tons each year of raw
materials and finished goods.
3. The industry allows the United States to take advantage of one
of its greatest natural resources - the 25,000 mile waterway system
- and adds $5 billion a year to the U.S. economy.
4. Waterways transportation is the most economical mode of commercial
freight transportation. This is due to the enormous capacity of
a barge. For example, a typical inland barge has a capacity 15 times
greater than one rail car and 60 times greater than one semi trailer
5. Waterways transportation is the most environmentally-friendly
mode of commercial transportation. The greater fuel efficiency of
tugboats and towboats results in cleaner air.
6. Waterways transportation contributes to the American quality
of life by moving goods off the already-congested roads and rails
and away from crowded population centers.
7. The American tugboat, towboat and barge industry is an important
element in the nation's intermodal transportation network, and contributes
to the American economy, environment, national security and quality
Safety and Environmental Protection
1. Waterways transportation is the safest mode of commercial freight
transportation, with the least number of accidents of any mode.
2. The Coast Guard-AWO Safety Partnership, the first industry-Coast
Guard partnership of its kind, has launched more than 25 quality
action teams that are improving safety and training throughout the
3. AWO has worked closely with the Coast Guard in the Coast Guard-AWO
Safety Partnership to achieve a dramatic 82% reduction
in oil spills just since 1994.
4. AWO is the only transportation trade association to require,
as a condition of membership, that all our members comply with a
third-party audited, U.S. Coast Guard-recognized safety and environmental
protection regime - the Responsible Carrier Program.
The Responsible Carrier Program (RCP)
1. The Responsible Carrier Program is a set of safety and environmental
protection practices that exceeds government standards.
2. How specifically does the RCP protect the environment? It puts
into place safety systems that prevent accidents - most spills and
environmental damage result from accidents - from comprehensive
crew training to vessel maintenance procedures to equipment requirements.
3. As of January 1, 2000, all members of AWO were required to
undergo a comprehensive, third-party audit by professional, experienced
and knowledgeable auditors, to demonstrate their compliance with
the RCP in order to retain their AWO membership.
4. AWO members demonstrated their serious commitment to the RCP
by voting to drop 13 non-compliant members on January 1, 2000 and
forfeit their dues revenue.
5. The Responsible Carrier Program continues to evolve, constantly
upgrading and improving the safety environment of the industry to
protect workers, the public and our precious environment.