Developments in inland waterway vessels
The term inland vessel covers a wide variety of floating units that operate on inland waterways, lakes and canals across the globe. At one end of the spectrum, we find many very small vessels operating on the waterways of emerging economies. Such vessels may have a capacity of only a few tons and can be powered by small outboard motors. At the other end of the spectrum we find the large pushtows operating on the Mississippi, Paraná and Yangtze, consisting of dozens of barges and having a cargo-carrying capacity of tens of thousands of tons. Between these extremities, a large variety of vessels exist. In this chapter, the more prevalent types of inland vessel are discussed, followed by a discussion of the main reasons for innovation in inland vessel technology. The chapter concludes with an overview of the most important developments and innovations in the field of inland vessel design and technology. The focus of this chapter will be on European IWT due to the availability of relevant data. The main characteristics of the inland fleets in other regions are discussed briefly to demonstrate their main differences and similarities. For a detailed discussion of inland vessels in the USA, refer to Fischer and Shearer (2004).
7.1.1 Inland vessel fleets per region