The New York Times has this nice article on how "The Nation’s First Superhighway" is making the beginnings of a financial comeback. 338 miles long, many people don’t even know its still functioning. As the price of fuel has risen, its makes more financial sense to use barges.
The canal still remains the most fuel-efficient way to ship goods between the East Coast and the upper Midwest. One gallon of diesel pulls one ton of cargo 59 miles by truck, 202 miles by train and 514 miles by canal barge, Ms. Mantello said. A single barge can carry 3,000 tons, enough to replace 100 trucks.