LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Technavio’s latest market research report on the barge transportation market in Europe provides an analysis of the most important trends expected to impact the market outlook from 2017-2021. Technavio defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline.
Sharan Raj, a lead analyst from Technavio, specializing in research on the logistics sector, says, “In European corridors, barge transportation is used as an alternative to other modes of inland transportation such as road and rail. It is a sustainable and environment-friendly mode of transportation as it reduces CO₂ emission and energy consumption. Barge transportation is also highly economical as it is used in rivers that are naturally formed and infrastructure requirement is also limited.”
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The top three emerging market trends driving the barge transportation market in Europe according to Technavio research analysts are:
- Development and modernization of existing fleets
- Implementation of fuel cell technology
- Volatile crude oil prices
Development and modernization of existing fleets
Manufacturers have not only developed new barge vessels but are also modernizing the existing fleets, with respect to retrofitting and structural alterations. This includes the replacement or renewal of the new power system, which improves the performance of vessels and aids in less fuel consumption. This also includes the addition of propulsion nozzles, which increases the efficiency of the system and helps to reduce fuel consumption by 8%-10%. Manufacturers also restructure the thruster tunnels in vessels to enhance the efficiency of vessels. All these can reduce transportation costs by 10%-15%.
Implementation of fuel cell technology
Fuel cell technology offers stationary power generation, portable power, and combined heat and power (CHP). This technology offers very low or negligible carbon emissions. Diesel generators are replaced using fuel cell technology. Hydrogen fuel cells have longer lives, which cuts down the requirement for barge operators to refuel the vessel time and again. With fuel cell technology implemented in barges, transit operations can last up to 3.5 days, without the need to refuel the system. In fuel systems, batteries supply about 65%-75% of the energy and the hydrogen fuel cell supplies about 20%-26% of the energy.
“During a 3.5 to 4-day trip, the CO₂ emission by fuel cells is negligible when compared with a diesel-powered barge, which would emit about 0.14 tons of CO₂,” says Sharan.
Though this system is extremely beneficial for the environment and enhances the economic performance, implementation of fuel cells is very expensive which hinders the manufacturers from switching to fuel cells.
Volatile crude oil prices
Crude oil, a petroleum product, is one of the major commodities that is carried by barges across Europe. Crude oil and other petroleum products are transported through barges as it is a safe mode of transportation when compared with road and rail transportation. Accidents and collisions during transportation of crude oil and other petroleum products on rail or road transportation can have a widespread impact on the environment and society apart from the loss of the commodity itself. Such widespread impact is not seen when they are transported through barges. Also, floating barriers have been placed in accident-prone areas, which curbs the spread of commodity, making it easier for the clean-up team to recover it.
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