A barge is a kind of cargo-carrying vessel designed to transport passengers or goods through rivers or canals. Normally, these shipping vessels are long, flat-bottomed boats that do not have a self-propelling mechanism. A barge needs to be pulled by tow or a tug boat.
Today, heavy freight shipping has become difficult, which makes a barge perfect to carry heavy loads or bulky cargo. A standard barge has a capacity of 1500 tons, measures 195 feet long and 35 feet wide. Some have open tops while there are covered barges to transport dry or liquid cargoes.
There are many different types of barges that can be elaborated as follows:
- Dry Bulk Cargo Barges: As the name suggests, these types of barges are used to haul and ferry dry cargo. When the aspects of dry cargo are considered, it includes sand, food grains, coal, and minerals like steel and other dry commodities that can be transferred through the system of barges.
- Barracks Barge: A barracks barge is also known as a houseboat. Houseboats are very common in places like Canada, Australia, North India (Kashmir), Laos, and Cambodia. As the name suggests, these types of barges are mainly used for residential purposes and look pretty eye-catching while they float as stationary objects in lakes and rivers.
- Car-float Barges: This type of marine barge was mainly used during the early 20th century to ferry rail carts. In simple terms, it can be said that these rail-carts attached to the barges were like portable rail-sets that were ferried from one location to another.
- Barges Carrying Liquid Cargo: These barges are completely opposite to the dry bulk cargo barges. These barges are very useful in carrying fertilizers and petrochemicals that are mainly used in the liquid state and other necessary industrial liquid chemicals.
- Split Hopper Barge: This unique barge is used for carrying dredged material as they are fitted with proper unloading tools. The split hopper barge is extensively used for marine construction purposes as it can unload materials (Dredged material, Soil, sand, etc.) at the site. The barge can be a self-propelled type fitted with a hydraulic motor and a cylinder unit to split open the hull. It has a hydraulically operated split open hull to unload, load, and carry construction material.
Other Barges - Apart from the above-mentioned types of barges, there exist some other types of barges, such as power barges and royal barges.
- Power barge: These barges are moreover a moveable power plant.
- Royal Barges: These barges are occasional barges, and they serve a platform for the celebration of royal functions. These are still in operation in nations like the United Kingdom, where the monarchy is still prevalent.