Coastal & Great Lakes Freight Transportation
Companies in this industry transport cargo in US coastal waters, on the Great Lakes System, or between ports of the US mainland, Puerto Rico, and US island possessions. Major companies include Kirby, Matson, American Steamship Company, and Rand Logistics.
The US coastal and Great Lakes shipping industry includes about 600 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $7 billion.
Coastal ("coastwise") shipping involves the freight transport of cargo within 20 miles of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts; between the US mainland and Puerto Rico, Alaska, Hawaii, and other US Pacific Islands; and between US coasts by way of the Panama Canal. Great Lakes ("lakewise") shipping is the transport of freight among the five US Great Lakes and along the Saint Lawrence Seaway System. Deep sea shipping to foreign ports and inland transport along US rivers aren't included in this industry. Deep sea shipping and inland barge transportation are covered in separate industry profiles.
Demand is driven primarily by demand from manufacturers for commodities such as coal, crude oil, grain, iron ore, refined petroleum products, and scrap metal. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations and a good safety record. Large companies have advantages in handling a broad range of cargo and diversifying freight and logistics operations. Small companies can compete effectively by transporting unusual cargo and offering excellent customer service. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies account for about 90% of industry revenue.
Coastal and Great Lakes shippers compete directly against railroads, pipelines, and trucks to transport cargo and bulk commodities. For many large shipments, barges are the most economical form of transportation. However, coastal and Great Lakes vessels generally take longer than trucks or trains would take to transport freight between the same points.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major services include the transportation of bulk liquids and gases, box and pallet freight, dry bulk, automobiles, and waste. Combined, these segments
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Regulation
Regional & International Issues
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms