The U.S. water transportation services industry comprises companies that carry freight or passengers on the open seas, the Great Lakes, or U.S. inland waterways as well as companies that offer lighterage1 and towing services, operate canals and terminals, and companies that charter vessels and handle cargo. The major segments of the industry are domestic and international freight transportation, passenger transportation, and port and cargo handling services. The data in this chapter portray global trends in vessel types, average length of haul, earnings, and the world fleet. The tables also highlight water-industry trends in freight transportation and passenger travel through 2000. Finally, data on port facilities, locations, port calls, and financing are shown.
1Lighterage is the carriage of goods by a lighter (a ship or barge used to load or unload a vessel) and charges assessed therefrom.