Hoppers are usually of double-hull construction, wherein the sides and bottom of the cargo hold are separated from the hull by void spaces. These barges are designed for efficient transport of commodities in bulk, such as grain, coal, sugar, ore, steel, aggregates, timber products and numerous other cargos.
Hopper barges have a boxed, single raked, or double-raked hull configuration. The hoppers may be covered or open. Covers provide protection of cargos from outside elements. Covers may be roll-top (telescoping), or lift-off (stacking) type.