Barges are actually flat-bottomed boats that can measure up to about 190 by 40 feet. These flat-bottomed boats are about to carry up to an astounding 1,500 tons of cargo! Used to transport heavy goods through rivers and canals. Barges these days are actually used to transport low-value bulk items as the cost of hauling goods by Barges are pretty cheap. Many of the barges such as the Dutch Barges were built mainly for carrying cargo along the canals of Europe, but these barges are no longer large enough to keep up in the shipping industry, as they are now larger and new vessels available for transport. Other than barges, the different types of shipping vessels that are used in the world consist of Container Ships, Bulk Carriers, and Tankers. All in all, they serve the same purpose of carrying cargo, goods, materials sometimes-even vehicles, or people from one port to another. Unlike Boats, barges require the help of tug boats to be towed from one place to another. These tugboats are strongly built and powerful for their size. The first few generations of tugboats had steam engines but the modern ones, which are being used today, make use of diesel engines. Other than barges tugboats can assist to move vessels that cannot move, such as ships in a tight spot like a narrow canal example or just disabled ships. Some of these tugboats are deployed as icebreakers or even salvage boats. And some tugboats even act as lifesavers, they actually assist in putting out fires that may occur in the harbors and so on. These lifesaving tugboats are equipped with firefighting monitors and fire hoses. There are mainly two types of tugboats, they are river tug boats and harbor tug boats. While harbor tug boats operate in harbors, river tug boats cannot deploy in the sea, due to the design which does not suit sea operations. Harbor tugboats are also capable of maneuvering in any direction and can also produce steam force. Even though some barges need the help of these tug boats, others do not require assistance from tug boats and are known as self-propelled barges. However, they are mostly used in calm waters for traveling upstream or downstream. Barges are still being used nowadays and there are many barges for sale. You can land yourself a second-hand barge or even a new one at a very reasonable price. Barges are known to be the most fuel-efficient mode of transport for cargo and other things like agricultural commodities. And it reduces air pollution as it gets rid of the need of using so many trucks to transport what one barge can actually transport. And using barges actually increases your access to the international market. So it is still a very efficient and cost-saving option in the shipping business.