Basically, the modes of transport for delivery of goods have been classified into three categories, namely land transport, sea transport and air transport. We shall discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of Land transport which is further divided into road transport and rail transport.
Bullock-carts, lorries, trucks, buses, etc., are the means of road transport. The merits of road transport are given below:
Advantages of Road Transport
1. Road transports are economical.
2. It is safe. Damage to goods is generally much less in road transport because handling is minimum.
3. It is flexible. It can reach the actual place of loading and unloading.
4. It gives access even to the common man.
5. It is the only option, if goods are to be delivered within a particular locality, e.g., if door delivery is to be given by a dealer.
6. It offers wider coverage. Any domestic or national market can be reached by the mode of road transport.
7. Loading and unloading of goods can be done more quickly.
8. When compared to all other modes of transport, packing expenses are the lowest in the case of road transport.
9. The overhead expenses are also less in the case of road transport. Rail transport, for example, requires the construction of railway stations, erection of signals and so on.
10. Road transport is the only suitable mode of transport for marketing goods in rural places.
Disadvantages of Road transport
The demerits of road transport are given below:
1. The carrying capacity is less.
2. Its efficiency is very much determined by the conditions of roads. Bad roads may cause such problems as breakdown and result in delay in the consignment reaching the market place.
3. It is slow. The competitive nature of Indian markets makes it undependable.
4. The rates are not standardized.
5. It is not suitable for carrying goods to very long distances, i.e., for foreign destinations.
6. Goods sent by trucks get lesser protection against rain, storm and so on.
7. Accidents occur often in highways. This makes road transport highly unsafe.
8. This mode of transport is highly irregular. The truck operators, generally, do not adhere to time schedule. Breakdowns and accidents further add to the problem.
9. During rainy season, the roads become unsafe and unfit for transportation.
10. As the truck operators are all private parties, their activities go unchecked. They charge a higher tariff and, as mentioned earlier, are not time conscious either.
Railways play a crucial role in the promotion of trade and industry in India. They carry consignments of different nature ranging from fruits and fish to coal and steel to different parts of the country.
Advantages of Rail Transport
The merits of rail transport are given below:
1. Rail transports are the most suitable for carrying goods to distant places.
2. It helps to transport bulky and heavy goods.
3. Rail transports are more dependable than road transport (bad road conditions make road transport undependable).
4. Bad weather does not affect rail transport as much as it affects road transport.
5. It is as economical as road transport and in some cases even more economical.
6. As Railways are being managed by the Government in India, the tariff charged for transporting goods is determined only by the Railway Ministry. The rates, therefore, are standardized.
7. Railway accidents are much less when compared to accidents in highways. This ensures safe transportation of goods to different destinations.
8. Railways will have to strictly adhere to the time schedule. This avoids delay.
Disadvantages of Rail Transport
The demerits of rail transport are:
1. Not all places are connected by trains.
2. Trains cannot carry goods to the doorstep. From the destination point, one has to arrange to collect and carry the goods to the intended place.
3. Rail transport is generally not suitable for short distances. It is preferred mostly when the consignment is to be taken to distant places.
4. Railways have fixed routes. This mode of transport, therefore, lacks flexibility.
5. Railways have monopoly in India. This gives the administration an upperhand in the matter of fixation of charges.