Shipping Methods Shift From Truck to Canal Barge

The Erie Canal has been long forgotten as a passage for transportation, but the affordability of shipping goods by canal barge is making it a more attarctive option than doing so by trucking.

"Along the Erie Canal, business owners who never gave the sleepy waterway much thought are exploring new ways of putting it to use.

'There aren't too many wagon trails left, but we still have the canal,' said John Callaghan, a mate on the Margot. 'Sure it's history, but it's still relevant. We're making money here.'"

"The canal still remains the most fuel-efficient way to ship goods between the East Coast and the upper Midwest. One gallon of diesel pulls one ton of cargo 59 miles by truck, 202 miles by train and 514 miles by canal barge, Ms. Mantello said. A single barge can carry 3,000 tons, enough to replace 100 trucks.

As the price of diesel climbed over $4 a gallon this summer - the national average is now about $3.31 a gallon - more shippers rediscovered the Erie Canal. On one trip in mid-October, the Margot motored down the canal at about seven knots, pushing a barge loaded with a giant green crane. The machine was being transported from Huger, S.C., to the Pinney Dock, operated by the Kinder Morgan Company in Ashtabula, Ohio."

Full Story: Hints of Comeback for Nation’s First Superhighway

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