This paper examines the use of inland waterways throughout the world, particularly for the transportation of agricultural, industrial and energy products. It is found that there are great variations in their importance from one country to another. This discrepancy can be explained to a certain extent by geographical conditions, but lack of realization of the potential benefits to the national economies also plays an important role. Some countries – especially the oil-importing developing countries -are now making determined efforts to expand and modernize their waterways transportation systems, but generally there is a lack of national master plans for transportation, including inland waterways, so their development is still taking place on a piecemeal basis.
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