Jobs & The Economy

Industry Facts

See below for additional information, fact sheets and infographics that highlight the safety, environmental, and economic benefits of the nation’s tugboat, towboat and barge industry.

  • The tugboat, towboat and barge industry is the largest segment of the U.S. domestic maritime industry, employing more than 33,000 American mariners aboard its vessels.
  • The nation’s domestic maritime industry is an economic engine and a jobs creator which supports 500,000 jobs and provides $100 billion in economic output.
  • Moving goods on the water is the most efficient transportation mode. A typical inland barge has a capacity 15 times greater than one rail car and 60 times greater than one semitrailer-truck, and one 15 barge-tow can move the equivalent of 216 rail cars or 1,050 semitrailer-trucks.
  • Water transportation plays a critical role in facilitating the nation’s trade, moving 60 percent of U.S. grain for export.
  • The single largest commodity that moves on U.S. waterways is petroleum – 244 million tons annually.
  • Twenty percent of the nation’s coal is moved on the water.

Fact Sheets