Barges are an environmentally-friendly alternative to trucks and rail transport. For example, the use of barges instead of trucks for bulk transport results in less traffic, less wear and tear on highways, and fewer accidents and collisions.
Many fuel efficiency studies have been done, including a major study by the US Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and results consistently show that the use of barges is the least energy intensive method of bulk commodities transport. Water transport also produces less air pollution, and is generally quieter than truck or rail transport.
Compatibility with the valuable natural resource of inland waterways makes inland barging the most environmentally-friendly mode of bulk commodities transport, and an important means to sustainable development, when compared to rail and roadway expansion.