A type of vessel primarily used for transporting cargo is referred to as a Barge. A barge is a kind of cargo-carrying vessel designed to transport passengers or goods through rivers or canals and we have different types of Barges in existence, .

One of the earliest known barges was Egyptian, dating from 2500 BC. Popularly known as the Khufu Ship, it was a solar vessel intended for use in the afterlife by King Khufu, the 2nd Pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty, to aid his travel through the Heavens with the Sun God Ra (myth). From that time until now, there has been a transformation in the industry.

What is the difference between a barge and a ship?
A ship refers to any watercraft of considerable size used to transport people or goods. Meanwhile, a barge is a long, flat-bottomed vessel traditionally used to transport goods (and now, people) through inland waterways.
What are the differences between a ship and a barge?
1. Any watercraft having considerable size is referred to as Ship or Vessel. But a Barge is that type of ship which has a large flat bottomed vessel generally used for transporting goods on Inland waterways.
2. Ships sail in both inland as well as International waterways but barges are typically seen in Inland waterways only.
3. Barges are generally used for transportation of goods within a river, canal, creek, or an estuary. Hardly any barge is seen in seas whereas ships can be found on all sorts of water bodies e.g. Oceans, seas, rivers, canals, estuaries, creeks, etc.
4. Ship serves as a multi-purpose vessel as it is used to transport both goods as well as people whereas barges are the ships used only for transporting goods.
5. Barges are used to transport material to ferryboats or other goods both in the sea and on port ships. Whereas a ship is a multi-facility vessel and can be used for several purposes. Ships can be used for International and national trades; cruises can be used for destination holidays and some ships are used for recreational works.
6. The ship is a self-propelled floating object, so moving a ship and maneuvering a ship is comparatively easier than the barges. Because barges are tugged with a ship and it is difficult to manage a vehicle with a trailer than the vehicle alone.

The following are some of the types of barges in existence:
• Barracks Barge: A barracks barge is also known as a houseboat. Houseboats are very common in places like Cambodia, North India (Kashmir), Laos, Australia, and Canada. As the name suggests, these types
of barges are mainly used for residential purposes and look very eyecatching while they float as stationary objects in rivers and lakes.
• Dry Bulk Cargo Barges: These types of barges, as their name suggests, are used to haul and ferry dry cargo. When the aspect of dry cargo is considered, it includes food grains, sand, minerals like steel and coal, and other dry commodities which be transferred through the system of barges.
• Barges Carrying Liquid Cargo: These types of barges are the opposite of the dry bulk cargo barges. These barges are very useful in carrying petrochemicals and fertilizers that are used mainly in the liquid state, and
other necessary important industrial liquid chemicals.
• Car-float Barges: This type of marine barge was mainly used during the early 20th century to ferry rail carts. In simple terms, it can be said that these rail-carts attached to the barges were like portable rail-sets ferried from one location to another. In today’s times, car-float barges, still function in some parts of the United States of America.
• Split Hopper Barge: This unique barge is used for carrying dredged material as they are fitted with proper unloading tools. The split hopper barge is extensively used for marine construction purposes as it can unload the material (Soil, sand, dredged material, etc.) at the site. The barge can be a self-propelled type fitted with a hydraulic motor and cylinder unit to split open the hull. It has a hydraulically operated split open hull to carry loading and unloading of construction material.

I do hope you have learnt something about the barge industry. When next you hear the words barge and ship, do have it in mind that there is a difference

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