Ship Rocket Thing?

What kind of ship is this? It seems to be using a very strange propulsion system, which makes it look like a cross between a ship and a rocket! On further investigation I found another one to the west, and after having a closer look in Google Earth, I now believe these are barges being pushed along the thin waterways by small tug-type boats. Does anyone know what they’re transporting? Thanks to Adam Fannin.

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