A barge carrier designed to act as a shuttle between ports, taking and discharging barges (lighters). The ship is provided with massive crane which loads and discharges the lighters over the stern. The lighters each have the capacity of 400 tons and are stowed in the holds and on deck. When the ship is at sea with one set of lighters, further sets can be made ready. Loading and discharge is rapid at about 15 minutes per lighter, no port or dock facilities are needed and the lighters can be grouped for pushing by tugs along inland waterways.