A lighter is a barge-type vessel used to carry cargo between shore and cargo ship. While the terms barge and lighter are used interchangeably, a barge usually refers to a vessel used for a long haul, while a lighter is used for a short-haul. Lighters typically have their own propulsion system, although they may also be towed by tugboats.
Lighters are an important part of the maritime logistics system, as they allow for the transfer of cargo from land to sea and vice versa. This transfer can be critical in situations where ships cannot dock at a port (due to bad weather or other reasons), and lighters can also be used to transport cargo to more remote areas.
There are various types of lighters, including:
- self-propelled lighters,
- non-self-propelled lighters,
- barge-type lighters.
Self-propelled lighters are typically used for shorter hauls, while non-self-propelled lighters and barge-type lighters are typically used for longer hauls.
Lighters are an essential part of the maritime logistics system, and play a vital role in the transport of cargo between land and sea.