Center of Expertise for Inland Navigation
safe, reliable, efficient, effective and environmentally
sustainable waterborne transportation systems for movement of
commerce, national security needs and recreation”|
- Corps Navigation Mission
to the PCXIN Outreach Website!
This site provides information on Waterborne Commerce in
the United States, including information on Inland
Navigation broken down by state, locks, industry and
Navigation was the Corps of Engineers' earliest Civil
Works mission, dating to Federal laws in the 1820’s
authorizing and funding the Corps to improve safety on
the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers by removing snags,
debris, and other obstructions. These rivers and the
coastal ports were the primary routes of commerce for
the new nation.
This authorization set the nation on a course for the
next two centuries of dredging channels, building locks
and dams, wing dikes and other structures to create an
Inland Waterways Transportation System for the movement
of goods on the Nations Rivers. The system includes
rivers such as the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio,
Illinois, Columbia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Monongahela and
Kanawha. Other smaller rivers are also included along
with the Gulf Coastal Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW)
Today the Inland Waterway
Transportation system provides an important alternative
to truck and rail. It is a highly cost-effective and
energy efficient means for transporting commercial
goods, especially major bulk commodities like coal,
grain, and petroleum products. This system is also a key
component of state and local economies and job creation
efforts and is essential in order to maintain economic
What is a Lock & Dam and how do
Visit Locks 101 for more
Did You Know?
- The US Inland Waterway system contains 12,000 miles of waterways, enough to stretch halfway around the world, with depths of at least 9 ft.
- The US Inland Waterway system includes 239 lock chambers at 193 navigation lock sites; 227 lock chambers, at 185 sites, are operated and maintained by USACE.
- The first complete lock and dam project built by the Corps of Engineers on the Ohio River was at Davis Island, a few miles below Pittsburgh. This lock and dam opened to traffic in 1885.
- The combined lift all USACE locks is 6,791 ft. The highest lift is 113 ft at John Day L&D in Oregon, on the Columbia River.
- On average, Ohio River L&D #52 moves the most volume of commodities through its locks with 90 million tons per year.
- The US Inland Waterway system moves over 550 million tons of commodities annually.
- Forty-one states, including all states east of the Mississippi River, are directly served by Corps ports and waterways (includes Great Lakes and coastal ports).
- On average, a single covered hopper barge that is 200’ by 35’ can carry 1,750 tons of cargo. That is about the same as 16 hopper type rail cars or 70 trucks.