Marine transport

Since the days of steam, JP Knight has moved the World’s products and the Earth’s minerals by river. In the last twenty years our fleet of push tugs and barges have moved over 60 million tonnes of bauxite in South America.

We have navigated a total distance of 3.25 million miles on the river systems of Suriname and Guyana and were the first tug and barge company in the World to certify river transport operations to the IMO’s International Safety Management Code in 1996.

JP Knight was founded 124 years ago in 1892 on the River Thames in London and is the UK’s oldest tug and barge owner. Our South American operations are based out of Paranam, Suriname, with headquarters in Chatham, Kent, UK.


River transport is as continuous an activity as it is possible to imagine. This is how vast tonnages are amassed: by the inexorable accumulation of cargo day in day out. A system of operation had to be devised that best delivered an acceptable pattern of work, audited to international standards, offering a safe operating environment to all crew members. JP Knight’s management system has been consistently audited by Lloyd’s Register to the International Safety Management Code since 1996 and was the first of its type in the world. It enshrines a work rhythm, written by the crews and officers themselves that ensures safe operations in every circumstance.


These are not canals, nor are they the sea: the tidal ebb and flow run at differing speeds in differing locations. Where one river meets the estuary, another cuts across it to drive the immense body of water at over four knots up or down the river. A bar lies at the exit of one river: loaded convoys must be timed to match the window of deeper water or suffer substantial, unacceptable, delay. Those same tides also reshape sand banks, moving them bodily over a surprisingly short time, demanding constant vigilance from even the most seasoned navigator.