Water Transportation Services Industry Profile

Report Page Length: 10-12
Last Quarterly Update: 5/6/2024
SIC Codes: 4412, 4424, 4432, 4449, 4481, 4482, 4489
NAICS Codes: 483
Chapters Include:
Industry Overview Trends & Challenges Industry Forecast
Quarterly Industry Update Call Prep Questions Website & Media Links
Business Challenges Financial Information Glossary & Acronyms
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Excerpt from Water Transportation Services Industry Profile

Companies in this industry provide inland, coastal, and deep sea transportation of freight and passengers. Major companies include Carnival and Kirby Inland Marine (both located in the US); as well as Mærsk (Denmark); COSCO (China); and Hapag-Lloyd (Germany).

The US water transportation services industry includes about 1,600 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $43 billion.

Major segments of the water transportation services industry, including coastal and Great Lakes freight transportation, cruise ships, deep sea freight transportation, and inland water freight transportation, are covered in separate profiles.


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.

Companies in some segments of the water transportation industry compete against providers outside their industry. For example, coastal and inland shippers compete directly against railroads, pipelines, and trucks to transport cargo and bulk commodities; cruises compete with vacation alternatives, such as hotels, resorts, theme parks, and land-based casinos.


Major segments of the water transportation services industry include cruises (about 50% of ...

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