Coal. Grain. Scrap metal. Fuel.
Do you have tons and tons of heavy material to ship?
You’re in luck if your route is between Minnesota and the Gulf of Mexico. You can ship north or south by barge. The modern barge business on the Mississippi River is great for bulky, heavy manufactured or raw materials.
Thanks to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Upper Mississippi is controlled and kept to a depth of nine feet or greater by a series of locks and dams. The locks are busy areas allowing barge tows as well as smaller commercial and private pleasure watercraft to transit from one level to another.
St. Louis, located at the southern end of the lock and dam system, sees lots of activity in the formation of the tows. Below you see a pair of barges being moved, it can go into a group of fifteen going north (upbound). Tows going south (downbound) in the lock and dam free portion of the river can be larger.
Ignore a school lesson for a moment. Barge tows are pushed.