Companies in this industry provide inland, coastal, and deep sea transportation of freight and passengers. Major companies include AP Møller - Mærsk (Denmark), Carnival (US), COSCO (China), Hapag-Lloyd (Germany), and Kirby Inland Marine (US).
Demand for water freight transportation is driven by commodities trade and global imports and exports; demand for passenger transportation is driven by disposable income and travel preferences. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient and safe operations. Large companies have advantages in capacity and diversity of service. Small companies can compete effectively by transporting specialized cargo or serving smaller markets. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies account for about 85% of industry revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major segments of the water transportation services industry include deep sea (about 60% of US revenue), inland (about 20%), and coastal and Great Lakes. The movement of freight accounts for 60% of US revenue, passenger transportation accounts for the remainder.