A coal mining company was intending to use a river to barge coal from an inland barge-loading terminal to an ocean port, for export. The river had variable navigability, according to both its natural topography and the seasonal rainfall. Data Analysis Australia was asked to determine the feasibility of such a process, and to estimate the limits (in tonnes per year) that could be transported. The coal barging approach was an option for the company as an interim way of transporting the coal whilst a higher potential capacity mode of transport was being developed.
The river on which the barges were to travel is particularly sinuous, with many bends and several narrow stretches. A bathymetric study showed the river to be navigable for most of the year for a given barge size of 5,000 tonnes. However, some parts of the river would be difficult and might require special provisions for passing and the clearing of some bends. This would require facilities such as additional tugs at some of these sites and locations where barges travelling upstream could pass those travelling downstream would be limited.