Road, rail and water are the three main types of transportation available for contractors looking to ship construction equipment from one end of Australia to the other.
Barges are among the most popular transport vessels used in inland waters. There are good reasons for this popularity, some of which are discussed in the article below.
A barge is a relatively large vessel. You might therefore be surprised how affordable it is to rent out one of these vessels. Rental barges are likely to be cheaper than rental trucks or a rental rail car.
The cost-effectiveness of barge transportation can be explained in various ways. For one, non-self-propelled barges don't use fuel. Rather, they're towed by other marine vessels. Thus, operational costs for barge transportation are often lower than operational costs associated with road trucks and rail cars.
Self-propelled barges use fuel, but their fuel consumption is significantly lower than that of trucks and/or rail cars. A barge loaded with one ton of cargo can cover up to 514 miles on one gallon of fuel. A rail car can cover approximately 202 miles on the same amount of fuel, while road trucks can go for a mere 59 miles. Even with self-propelled barges, the operational costs for the equipment rental agency are still significantly lower, which translates to more affordable rates for barge rentals.
This is another significant advantage that barges have over rails cars and road trucks. A higher carrying capacity easily eliminates the need for multiple trips if you have to transport several pieces of equipment. A rental barge will carry up to 1,500 tons of cargo in a single trip, while a single rail car carries up to 100 tons. Trucks come in a distant third with a capacity of up to 26 tons of cargo.
The higher carrying capacity is also advantageous due to the bulky nature of construction equipment. The extra capacity could easily eliminate the need to disassemble and reassemble such equipment before and after transportation respectively. This could easily reduce the amount of work/labour needed for the transportation exercise.
The 21st century is the century of environmental awareness. Advising clients on the most eco-friendly building materials is an indirect way of caring for the environment. Choosing to transport your equipment using a rental barge is a more direct way of doing this. Barges have been found to emit less carbon monoxide, less nitrous oxide and fewer hydrocarbons than trucks and rail cars.