Companies in this industry provide water transportation of 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.
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 85% of industry revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major services include the transportation of bulk liquids and gases, box and pallet freight, intermodal containers, dry bulk, automobiles, and waste. Combined, these segments account for about 80% of industry revenue.