Inland Water Passenger Transport Market

Global Inland Water Passenger Transport Market Research Report: By Vessel (Water Taxis, Cruise Ships), By Propulsion (Conventional, Electric, Hydrogen, Hybrid), By Transportation Mode (Canals, Lakes, Rivers, Others), and Region (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World) Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, Regional Analysis, Competitor Analysis and Forecast 2024-2032.

Automobile & Transportation | January 2024 | Report ID: EMR00407 | Pages: 301

The global inland water passenger transport market was valued at USD 1.68 billion in 2023 and is estimated to reach approximately USD 2.85 billion by 2032, at a CAGR of 6.0% from 2024 to 2032.

The market for inland water passenger transport provides a distinctive way to travel through rivers, canals, and lakes, making it an essential part of global transportation networks. Originating from ancient trading lines, it has developed into a modern mode of transportation for tourism, urban commuting, and leisure cruises. Travelers looking for beautiful routes, environmentally responsible travel options, and quick connections between cities are drawn to this sector due to its wide products, which include luxury liners and water taxis as well as ferries. Its expansion is driven by concerns about the environment, encouraging eco-friendly substitutes for conventional modes of transportation, lessening traffic, and cutting down on carbon emissions.

It also contributes significantly to improving accessibility, establishing economic development along rivers, and linking isolated areas. Innovations in digital ticketing systems, safety protocols, and ship design have made it easier for the market to grow while maintaining passenger convenience and security. The inland water passenger transport market is expected to continue growing and gain more prominence in the world travel scene as governments place more emphasis on encouraging environmentally friendly forms of transportation.




Report Attribute


Estimated Market Value (2023)

1.68 Bn

Projected Market Value (2032)

2.85 Bn

Base Year


Forecast Years

2024 - 2032

Scope of the Report

Historical and Forecast Trends, Industry Drivers and Constraints, Historical and Forecast Market Analysis by Segment- By Vessel, By Propulsion, By Transportation Mode, & Region

Segments Covered

By Vessel, By Propulsion, By Transportation Mode, & Region

Forecast Units

Value (USD Billion or Million), and Volume (Units)

Quantitative Units

Revenue in USD million/billion and CAGR from 2024 to 2032

Regions Covered

North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa, and the Rest of World

Countries Covered

U.S., Canada, Mexico, U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, GCC Countries, and South Africa, among others

Report Coverage

Market growth drivers, restraints, opportunities, Porter’s five forces analysis, PEST analysis, value chain analysis, regulatory landscape, market attractiveness analysis by segments and region, company market share analysis, and COVID-19 impact analysis.

Delivery Format

Delivered as an attached PDF and Excel through email, according to the purchase option.


Global Inland Water Passenger Transport Market Dynamics

This industry is influenced by several factors, including customer preferences, infrastructure development, environmental concerns, and regulatory frameworks. Tight environmental laws have sparked innovation and led to the development of cleaner propulsion technologies, such as electric and hybrid engines, which are in line with the sustainability objectives of the market. Investment in infrastructure is essential because it makes it possible to improve accessibility and operational efficiency through modernization initiatives, port improvements, and route expansions. The market is becoming more diverse as a result of customer tastes shifting toward eco-conscious and experience travel, which has increased demand for relaxing ferry trips, scenic river cruises, and effective urban waterway transportation.

Furthermore, changes in the economy have an impact on market dynamics, affecting both the leisure and commuter segments. There is a growing trend of public-private partnerships that promote cooperation on digital innovations in ticketing systems, promotions, and service improvements. This market's ability to stay strong is demonstrated by its ability to link isolated areas, act as a lifeline in an emergency, and promote economic growth near waterways. The market for inland water passenger transport is flexible and has established itself as a vital and dynamic part of the larger transportation sector, even as technology, sustainability, and consumer needs all continue to change.


Global Inland Water Passenger Transport Market Drivers

  • Infrastructure Development

The market for inland water passenger transport is driven forward by infrastructure development, which improves accessibility, increases operating efficiency, and broadens the scope of waterway transport networks. By connecting locations that were previously unreachable by other methods, the industry is able to take use of underutilized waterways and undiscovered prospective routes because of investments in infrastructure, which includes ports, terminals, and navigational systems. Increased frequency, increased reliability, and more capacity for passenger vessels are made possible by upgraded infrastructure, which also makes it easier to introduce new services. Additionally, updated docking stations and terminals facilitate boarding processes more efficiently, improving the overall traveler experience and increasing the allure of water transportation.

In addition to drawing leisure travelers looking for picturesque routes, these improvements also serve commuters by offering effective urban transportation options. Furthermore, by promoting trade, tourism, and local development along water routes, strategic infrastructure investments support regional economic growth. This engine propels the sector's expansion, enhancing the competitiveness and relevance of inland water passenger transport in the context of the larger transportation environment and promoting economic activity in interconnected regions.

  • Urban Mobility Solutions

Water transportation appears as a potential way to help cities with their growing traffic problems and environmental issues related to urban mobility. When incorporated into urban transportation systems, inland waterways offer effective and environmentally responsible means of transportation, particularly in places with accessible bodies of water. River shuttles, ferries, and water taxis provide rapid, traffic-free transport options that avoid driving and cut down on carbon emissions. Additionally, these water-based services frequently supplement currently available forms of transportation, giving commuters access to an integrated, multimodal transportation network.

The ease of use and accessibility of water transportation for city inhabitants is improved by investments in infrastructure development, such as the construction or renovation of docking facilities and terminals within urban areas. The acceptance of these services by locals and visitors is further encouraged by marketing them through cutting-edge ticketing systems, integrated transport passes, and digital platforms. Urban water mobility reduces commuter stress and establishes inland water transport as a crucial element of sustainable urban transportation by tackling urban congestion and environmental issues while providing effective transit options.



  • Weather and Seasonal Variability

For safety concerns, unfavorable weather conditions like storms, intense rain, or fog may require route diversions, delays, or even cancellations. This causes discomfort for passengers and operating difficulties for service providers. Seasonal variations can have an impact on navigability, especially in rivers and canals, limiting vessel movement or necessitating adjustments to freight and passenger loads. These variations can include changes in water levels brought on by rainfall or temperature swings. These weather-related limitations affect not just the regularity and dependability of services but also the appeal of water transportation as a practical means of transportation, particularly in areas vulnerable to severe weather. These limitations are additionally made more difficult for operators to prepare for and maintain year-round consistent service quality by climate change's unpredictable weather patterns. To increase the industry's resilience to weather-related difficulties, mitigating these constraints entails extensive backup plans, enhanced forecasting tools, and, in certain situations, expenditures in vessel modifications for poor weather navigation.

  • Economic Uncertainty

Recessions, inflation, and currency devaluations are examples of economic fluctuations that can have a direct impact on consumer spending habits and discretionary costs like travel. In times of economic recession, people and families may choose to spend less on non-essential or leisure travel. As a result, there will be less demand for inland water transport services, especially in the leisure sector. Additionally, companies might reduce their corporate travel spending, which would have an impact on commuter services that depend on consistent passenger traffic.

The sector's capacity to innovate and grow might be hampered by economic volatility, which can also influence investment decisions by limiting the availability of funds for fleet modernization or infrastructure upgrades. Geopolitical unrest or uncertainties in international trade can further destabilize the market, impacting traveler patterns and trade-related transportation operations. Operators frequently use value-focused marketing campaigns, flexible pricing techniques, and a variety of service offerings to get around these restrictions and draw in a larger customer base. In a world of unpredictable economic conditions, the inland water passenger transport sector needs flexible business models that can withstand economic ups and downs.



  • Sustainable Innovation

In the inland water passenger transport sector, sustainable innovation offers a critical chance to transform the sector and solve urgent environmental issues. Adopting greener propulsion technology, such electric or hybrid engines, presents an opportunity to cut emissions and environmental impact dramatically, in line with international sustainability objectives. This change serves a rising market of environmentally concerned tourists and puts the tourism sector in a good position in the face of more stringent environmental laws. Investments in R&D for improved materials, renewable energy sources, and energy-efficient vessel designs also offer chances to lower the sector's carbon footprint and improve operational effectiveness. Innovation is not limited to propulsion systems; it also includes environmentally friendly shipbuilding techniques, waste management strategies, and energy-efficient operations that support a comprehensive approach to sustainability. Accepting these developments not only fits with the principles of responsible tourism, but it also creates opportunities for collaborations, funding, and prizes that promote green projects. This is a chance that not only advances the industry but also creates a model for future inland water passenger travel that is more robust and sustainable.

  • Tourism and Leisure Growth

The beautiful attraction of river journeys, canal cruises, and culturally engaging trips is a powerful lure for travelers who are looking for more unique, immersive travel experiences. This emerging trend in travel preferences is well suited for inland water transport, which is capable of traveling through historical routes, beautiful landscapes, and off-the-beaten-path locations. To make the most of this potential, travel agencies, lodging providers, and excursion planners in the area should work together to create customized packages in addition to serving leisure tourists looking for unique experiences.

These packages might combine transportation with cultural events, guided tours, and experiences unique to the area, improving the value proposition for visitors as a whole. Furthermore, advertising initiatives emphasizing the uniqueness and sustainability of water-based tourism increase its attractiveness and draw in eco-aware tourists and those looking to depart from traditional travel routes. By taking advantage of this increase in leisure and tourism, the inland water passenger transport sector may offer itself as a transforming experience that encompasses exploration, leisure, and cultural immersion, rather than merely a means of transportation.


Segment Overview

By Vessel

Based on vessels, the global inland water passenger transport market is divided into water taxis and cruise ships. The cruise ships category dominates the market with the largest revenue share in 2023. Cruise ships, provide vacationers looking for more extended and immersive river, lake, or canal excursions. Cruise ships are bigger, longer-haul ships with amenities, entertainment, and a range of onboard services to provide guests with an opulent or comfortable travel experience. These trips emphasize leisure, exploration, and relaxation; they frequently include several destinations, chances for sightseeing, and themed activities. 

Smaller boats are usually used as water taxis, and they are intended for point-to-point, shorter-distance travel along certain rivers or cities. They provide rapid and effective transportation between predetermined stations or tailored routes, functioning more like on-demand services. Passengers, tourists, and anybody looking for quick, direct transportation across bodies of water are served by these vessels. In crowded metropolitan environments, water taxis offer a useful substitute for road-based transportation by placing a premium on speed, ease, and adaptability.


By Propulsion

Based on the propulsion, the global inland water passenger transport market is categorized into conventional, electric, hydrogen, and hybrid. The conventional category leads the global inland water passenger transport market with the largest revenue share in 2023. Conventional propulsion pertains to the conventional means of energizing vessels, predominantly using internal combustion engines that run on gasoline or diesel. Despite being widely used in the past, these engines emit fumes that pollute the air and water. Despite this, a lot of boats in the inland water transport industry continue to run on conventional propulsion systems because of their well-established support networks and cheaper beginning costs. Because they are less harmful to the environment, electric propulsion technologies are becoming more popular.

By utilizing batteries to run electric motors, these systems do away with direct emissions while in use. Because charging infrastructure may be easily installed, electrically propelled boats are especially well-suited for shorter excursions or urban waterways. Utilizing hydrogen fuel cells to provide electricity to run the ship's motors is known as hydrogen propulsion.

The only consequence of the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in hydrogen fuel cells is water vapor, which is used to generate power. Since hydrogen-powered boats have no emissions and can go a great distance, they are a good fit for larger boats or routes where installing electric charging infrastructure could be difficult. Hybrid propulsion systems offer greater flexibility and efficiency by combining many power sources, such as electric or hydrogen fuel cells with diesel engines. Hybrid ships can optimize fuel efficiency and cut emissions by alternating between power sources according to operating needs. This strategy combines more modern, environmentally friendly solutions with the infrastructure already in place to facilitate a more seamless shift to cleaner technology.


By Transportation Mode

Based on transportation mode, the global inland water passenger transport market is segmented into canals, lakes, rivers, and others. The rivers segment dominates the inland water passenger transport market. Rivers are naturally occurring streams that have long been essential for inland water transportation. There are many different options available for river-based passenger transportation, from leisurely riverbank cruises to commuter ferries in urban regions. Rivers serve as a network that links towns, cities, and rural areas, making travel for recreation and commuting easier.

In order to accommodate a range of passenger requirements and preferences, they frequently support a variety of vessels, from little ferries and water taxis to bigger cruise ships. Artificial waterways built for transit, irrigation, or navigation are called canals. Canals are frequently used by inland water transport services to link various areas, towns, or even nations. When opposed to natural waterways, canals provide comparatively controlled and smooth waterways that facilitate effective, occasionally faster, transportation. Large inland bodies of water are known as lakes, and in certain areas, well-established passenger transportation services are available on these bodies of water. Lakes offer beautiful paths for leisurely excursions or function as effective transportation routes, linking neighboring towns.


Global Inland Water Passenger Transport Market Overview by Region

The global inland water passenger transport market is categorized into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World. Europe emerged as the leading region, capturing the largest market share in 2023. The continent has a long history of using its waterways for travel, commerce, and recreation, and as a result, it has developed an advanced system of inland water transportation. Commuter traffic in urban areas and leisure cruises along scenic routes are made easier by the well-established networks of rivers and canals found in countries such as the Netherlands, France, Germany, and the UK. In line with the region's goal of lowering emissions, investments in cleaner propulsion technology have been sparked by Europe's emphasis on sustainability and environmentally friendly transportation solutions. Thanks to the combination of historical significance, modernity, and effective services, Europe is now leading the world in inland water passenger transport.

Throughout the forecast period, Asia-Pacific is anticipated to post a significant CAGR. Rapid urbanization, accelerating economic growth, and a growing focus on environmentally friendly transportation options in nations like China, India, and Southeast Asia are the main causes of this expansion. An increasing need for effective urban transportation solutions combined with expanding infrastructure such as updated terminals and waterway networks positions the Asia-Pacific region for significant growth in the inland water passenger transport industry.



Global Inland Water Passenger Transport Competitive Landscape

In the global inland water passenger transport market, a few major players exert significant market dominance and have established a strong regional presence. These leading companies remain committed to continuous research and development endeavors and actively engage in strategic growth initiatives, including product development, launches, joint ventures, and partnerships. By pursuing these strategies, these companies aim to strengthen their market position, expand their customer base, and capture a substantial share of the market.

Some of the prominent players in the global inland water passenger transport market include,

  • Damen Shipyards Group
  • SES-X Marine Technologies
  • Kooiman Marine Group
  • CARTUBI S.r.l.
  • Incat Crowther
  • Baumüller
  • ABB
  • Siemens
  • Groupe Beneteau, and various others.


Global Inland Water Passenger Transport Market Recent Developments

  • In November 2023, By collaborating with interior waterways for shipping, Amazon India makes waves. Amazon plans to ship customer packages across inland canals in India in an effort to use economical and environmentally friendly delivery methods.
  • In July 2023, the foundation stone for the Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) terminal, which will be built in Bogibeel in Dibrugarh, Assam, near the bank of the River Brahmaputra (National Waterways 2), was laid by the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways. The IWT terminal, which can accommodate both tourists and cargo, is expected to be created at an expense of 46.60 crores and finished by February 2024.


Scope of the Global Inland Water Passenger Transport Market Report

Inland Water Passenger Transport Market Report Segmentation



By Vessel

  • Water Taxis
  • Cruise Ships

By Propulsion

  • Conventional
  • Electric
  • Hydrogen
  • Hybrid


By Transportation Mode

  • Canals
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (USA, and Canada)
  • Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia and Rest of Europe)
  • Asia Pacific (Japan, China, India, Australia, Southeast Asia and Rest of Asia Pacific)
  • Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America)
  • Middle East & Africa (South Africa, GCC, and Rest of Middle East & Africa)

Customization Scope

  • Available upon request


  • Available upon request


Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are summarized in 5 stages. They are as mentioned below:

  • Global Inland Water Passenger Transport Market Size and Forecast: To identify and estimate the market size for the global inland water passenger transport market segmented by vessel, by propulsion, by transportation mode, region and by value (in U.S. dollars). Also, to understand the consumption/ demand created by consumers of inland water passenger transport between 2019 and 2032.
  • Market Landscape and Trends: To identify and infer the drivers, restraints, opportunities, and challenges for the global inland water passenger transport market
  • Market Influencing Factors: To find out the factors which are affecting the sales of inland water passenger transport among consumers
  • Impact of COVID-19: To identify and understand the various factors involved in the global inland water passenger transport market affected by the pandemic
  • Company Profiling:  To provide a detailed insight into the major companies operating in the market. The profiling will include the financial health of the company's past 2-3 years with segmental and regional revenue breakup, product offering, recent developments, SWOT analysis, and key strategies.

Intended Audience

  • Transportation Industry Professionals
  • Tourism and Hospitality Industry
  • Government Authorities and Policymakers
  • Technology and Innovation Providers
  • Environmental Organizations
  • Investors and Trade Experts

Research Methodology

Our research methodology has always been the key differentiating reason which sets us apart in comparison from the competing organizations in the industry. Our organization believes in consistency along with quality and establishing a new level with every new report we generate; our methods are acclaimed and the data/information inside the report is coveted. Our research methodology involves a combination of primary and secondary research methods. Data procurement is one of the most extensive stages in our research process. Our organization helps in assisting the clients to find the opportunities by examining the market across the globe coupled with providing economic statistics for each and every region.  The reports generated and published are based on primary & secondary research. In secondary research, we gather data for global Market through white papers, case studies, blogs, reference customers, news, articles, press releases, white papers, and research studies. We also have our paid data applications which includes hoovers, Bloomberg business week, Avention, and others.

Data Collection

Data collection is the process of gathering, measuring, and analyzing accurate and relevant data from a variety of sources to analyze market and forecast trends. Raw market data is obtained on a broad front. Data is continuously extracted and filtered to ensure only validated and authenticated sources are considered. Data is mined from a varied host of sources including secondary and primary sources.

Primary Research

After the secondary research process, we initiate the primary research phase in which we interact with companies operating within the market space. We interact with related industries to understand the factors that can drive or hamper a market. Exhaustive primary interviews are conducted. Various sources from both the supply and demand sides are interviewed to obtain qualitative and quantitative information for a report which includes suppliers, product providers, domain experts, CEOs, vice presidents, marketing & sales directors, Type & innovation directors, and related key executives from various key companies to ensure a holistic and unbiased picture of the market. 

Secondary Research

A secondary research process is conducted to identify and collect information useful for the extensive, technical, market-oriented, and comprehensive study of the market. Secondary sources include published market studies, competitive information, white papers, analyst reports, government agencies, industry and trade associations, media sources, chambers of commerce, newsletters, trade publications, magazines, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Factiva, D&B, annual reports, company house documents, investor presentations, articles, journals, blogs, and SEC filings of companies, newspapers, and so on. We have assigned weights to these parameters and quantified their market impacts using the weighted average analysis to derive the expected market growth rate.

Top-Down Approach & Bottom-Up Approach

In the top – down approach, the Global Batteries for Solar Energy Storage Market was further divided into various segments on the basis of the percentage share of each segment. This approach helped in arriving at the market size of each segment globally. The segments market size was further broken down in the regional market size of each segment and sub-segments. The sub-segments were further broken down to country level market. The market size arrived using this approach was then crosschecked with the market size arrived by using bottom-up approach.

In the bottom-up approach, we arrived at the country market size by identifying the revenues and market shares of the key market players. The country market sizes then were added up to arrive at regional market size of the decorated apparel, which eventually added up to arrive at global market size.

This is one of the most reliable methods as the information is directly obtained from the key players in the market and is based on the primary interviews from the key opinion leaders associated with the firms considered in the research. Furthermore, the data obtained from the company sources and the primary respondents was validated through secondary sources including government publications and Bloomberg.

Market Analysis & size Estimation

Post the data mining stage, we gather our findings and analyze them, filtering out relevant insights. These are evaluated across research teams and industry experts. All this data is collected and evaluated by our analysts. The key players in the industry or markets are identified through extensive primary and secondary research. All percentage share splits, and breakdowns have been determined using secondary sources and verified through primary sources. The market size, in terms of value and volume, is determined through primary and secondary research processes, and forecasting models including the time series model, econometric model, judgmental forecasting model, the Delphi method, among Flywheel Energy Storage. Gathered information for market analysis, competitive landscape, growth trends, product development, and pricing trends is fed into the model and analyzed simultaneously.

Quality Checking & Final Review

The analysis done by the research team is further reviewed to check for the accuracy of the data provided to ensure the clients’ requirements. This approach provides essential checks and balances which facilitate the production of quality data. This Type of revision was done in two phases for the authenticity of the data and negligible errors in the report. After quality checking, the report is reviewed to look after the presentation, Type and to recheck if all the requirements of the clients were addressed.

Frequently Asked Questions

On the basis of Geography, The inland water passenger transport market is classified into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Rest of the world.
According to inland water passenger transport market research, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of ~6.0% over the coming years.
Europe is expected to register the highest CAGR during 2024 - 2032.
Asia-Pacific held the largest share in 2024.
The major players operating in the global inland water passenger transport market include Damen Shipyards Group; HOLLAND SHIPYARDS GROUP; SES-X Marine Technologies; Kooiman Marine Group; CARTUBI S.r.l.; Incat Crowther; Baumller; ABB; Siemens; Groupe Beneteau, and various others.

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