Earth Day fact sheet: Waterways are the greenest way to go


The following is the text of a news release from the American Waterways Operators (AWO) and Waterways Council Inc. (WCI):

(ARLINGTON, Va. and WASHINGTON) — In celebration of Earth Day 2016, today the American Waterways Operators and Waterways Council Inc. released a fact sheet highlighting the many environmental and energy efficiency benefits of our nation’s waterways. Among them:

• Barge transportation of commodities on our nation’s waterways is the greenest way to move bulk freight. In 2014, 604 million tons of cargo valued at $232 billion moved on the inland waterways system with the lowest environmental impact among surface transportation modes.

• Towboats can push many barges loaded with freight (grain, soybeans, chemicals, petroleum, salt, sand, timber, rocks, and more) at one time. A standard inland river tow of one towboat pushing 15 barges moves as much cargo as 1,050 semi-trucks, or six locomotives pulling 216 rail cars.

• Moving cargoes by barge produces little noise or air pollution as vessels glide silently through the water, away from shorelines.

• Modern trucks can move a ton of cargo 150 miles for each gallon of fuel burned. Newer locomotives can move that cargo 478 ton-miles per gallon, but barges, pushed by towboats, can move it 616 ton-miles per gallon.   

Our inland waterways are a critical solution to the nation's transportation challenges today and into the future. Waterways transportation is the most cost-competitive, fuel-efficient, congestion relieving mode that also offers the lowest carbon footprint.   

Waterways are simply the greenest way to go.


By Professional Mariner Staff