Waterways: Better for the Environment, Better for Communities
The National Waterways Foundation facilitates research and learning for industry leaders and thinkers to address public policy issues related to America's inland waterways system.
Through peer-reviewed commissioned studies, the Foundation helps the public to understand how to maintain our waterways system, enhance its capabilities and promote its value in the years ahead.
America’s inland waterways directly connect 28 states and benefit all 50 states by moving freight the entire country relies upon, all at the lowest cost and with the least fuel consumption among surface transportation modes.
Barges: Most Fuel Efficient
Barges move cargo 675 ton-miles per gallon of fuel. Ton-miles per gallon are the measure of how far each ton of cargo is carried by a single gallon of fuel.
- A rail car is 30% less efficient
than a barge
- A truck is 78% less efficient
than a barge
Moving cargo on the inland waterways is the best bet for reducing the carbon footprint because barges generate far fewer emissions than trucks or rail. Barge transport also results in fewer spills, which are more than double by truck and nearly three times by rail.
Our inland waterways system moves goods more safely and efficiently than rail or highway. It is a key component of the transportation network and supply chain and is essential to our country’s economic strength.
Our inland waterways move more than half a billion tons (2019), saving $7-9 billion in transportation costs to the nation compared to truck or rail.
From reducing air pollution to lowering the number of transportation-related injuries and fatalities, inland waterways transport helps to protect people
and their environment.