Meaning of transportation

Transportation refers to the activity that facilitates physical movement of goods and individuals from one place to another.

Individuals or business firms that engage themselves in such activities are called transporters.


Importance of transport

Transport removes the  hindrance of distance.

  1. Useful to manufacturers:

Transport makes it possible to carry raw materials from places where they are available to places where they are to be processed and assembled into semi-finished or finished goods.

  1. Useful to customers:

Transport makes movement of finished goods possible to consumers spread in different locations of the country ,consuming goods produced at distant places.

  1. Raising standard of living:

Transport gives consumers the choice to make use of different qualities of goods of different prices. So it raises the standard of living of the people.

  1. Facilitates large-scale production :

Transport makes large scale production possible by making all required materials and manpower available at the place finally selected for manufacturing. Large scale production lowers down cost per unit.

  1. Helpful during emergencies:

In times of national crisis, due to war or internal disturbance, transport helps in quick movement of troops and the supplies needed in the operation.

  1. Creation of employment:

Transport provides employment opportunity to individuals engaged in producing, operating and maintaining various means of transportation.

  1. Labour mobility:

Transport helps people to work in different industries and factories. Most industries have their own transport system to bring the workers to the place of work.

  1. Cultural exchange:

Transport facilitates movement of people and goods from one country to another. It helps in exchange of cultures, views and practices among the people of different countries which creates better understanding and helps in promoting a feeling of international brotherhood.


Modes and means of transport

Transport is possible through land, air or water, which are called the different modes of transport.

On land we use trucks, tractors, etc., to carry goods; trains, buses, cars etc. to carry passengers. In air, we use aeroplanes, helicopters to carry passengers as well as goods. In water we use ships, steamers, boats, etc., to carry goods and passengers. All these are known as various means of transport.

The modes of transport can broadly be divided into three categories:

  1. Land transport,
  2. Water transport and
  3. Air transport.


Land transport

Land transport refers to activities of physical movement of goods and passengers on land. This transport may further be divided into:

  1. Road transport
  2. Rail transport
  3. Ropeway transport
  4. Pipeline transport


Road transport

Roads are the means that connect one place to another on the surface of the land.

Some of them are made of sand and some may be of chips and cement or coal tar. There are different vehicles plying on roads like bullock carts, cycles, motorcycles, cars, truck, buses, etc. and may be- man driven; animal driven; and motor driven.

Advantages of road transport

  1. It is a relatively cheaper mode of transport as compared to other modes.
  2. Perishable goods can be transported fast by road carriers over a short distance.
  3. Loading and unloading is possible at any destination.
  4. It provides door-to-door service.
  5. It helps where there is no transport connectivity of any other type, e.g. hilly areas.

Limitations of road transport

  1. It is not economical for long distance transportation of goods due to their limited carrying-capacity.
  2. Transportation of heavy goods or goods in bulk by road involves high cost.
  3. It is affected by adverse weather conditions like floods, rain, landslide, etc.


Rail transport

Transportation of goods and passengers on rail lines through trains is called rail transport. It is the most dependable mode of transport to carry goods and passengers over a long distance. Rails use steam, diesel or electric power to move.

Advantages of rail transport

  1. It is a convenient mode of transport for traveling long distances.
  2. It is relatively faster than road transport.
  3. It is suitable for carrying heavy goods in large quantities over long distances.
  4. Its operation is less affected by adverse weather conditions like rain, floods, fog, etc.

Limitations of railway transport

  1. It is relatively expensive for carrying goods and passengers over short distances.
  2. It is not available in remote parts of the country.
  3. It provides service according to fixed time schedule and is not flexible for loading or unloading of goods at any place.
  4. It involves heavy losses of life as well as goods in case of accident.


Pipelines transport

Pipelines are used for water supply to residential and commercial areas and petroleum and natural gas from one place to another.

This is the most convenient and economical mode of transport for these products to be transported in large volume, as compared to road and rail transport.

But the cost of installation and maintenance is quite high.


Ropeway transport

Ropeway refers to a mode of transport, which connects two places on the hills, or across a valley or river. In the hilly areas, trolleys move on wheels connected to a rope and are used for carrying passengers or goods, especially building materials, food, etc.


Water transport

Water transport refers to movement of goods and passengers on waterways by using various means like boats, steamers, launches, ships, etc.

When rivers and canals within the country are used for the movement of boats, launches, etc. this is called inland water transport.

When the various means of transport are used to carry goods and passengers on the sea route it is termed as ocean transport.

Sea transport is of two types.

  1. Coastal Shipping

In this transport, ships ply between the main ports of a country. This helps in home trade, and also in carrying passengers within the country In this transport, ships ply between different countries separated by sea or ocean.

  1. Overseas shipping

Overseas transport is carried out on fixed routes which connect almost all the countries. In ocean transport, different types of ships are used to carry passengers and goods. These may be :

  1. a) Liners – A liner is a passenger or cargo vessel, which belongs to a regular shipping company. These ships ply over a fixed route following a prescribed schedule or time table.
  2. b) Tramps – A tramp is a cargo ship, which does not make regular trips but plies whenever cargo is offered to it. It does not follow a fixed route or a prescribed time table like that of liners.

Advantages of water transport

  1. It is a relatively economical mode of transport for bulky and heavy goods.
  2. It is a safe mode of transport with respect to occurrence of accidents.
  3. The cost of maintaining and constructing routes is very low as most of them are naturally made.
  4. It promotes international trade.

Limitations of water transport

  1. The depth and navigability of rivers and canals affect operations of transport vessels of different sizes.
  2. It is a slow moving mode of transport and therefore not suitable for transport of perishable goods.
  3. It is adversely affected by weather conditions.
  4. Sea transport requires large investment in ships and their maintenance.


Air transport

This is the fastest mode of transport. It carries goods and passengers through airways by using different aircrafts like passenger aircraft, cargo aircraft, helicopters, etc.

In hilly and mountainous areas where other mode of transport is not feasible, air transport is an important as well as convenient mode. It is also used for transporting goods and passengers during natural calamities like earthquake and floods, etc. During war, air transport plays an important role in carrying soldiers as well as supplies to the required areas.

Air transport may be classified as domestic and international air transport.

Domestic air transport mainly facilitates movement within the country.

International air transport is used for carrying goods and passengers among different countries.

Advantages of air transport

  1. It is the fastest mode of transport.
  2. It is very useful in transporting goods and passengers to the area which are not accessible by any other means of transport.
  3. It is the most convenient mode of transport during natural calamities.
  4. It provides vital support to the national security and defence.

Limitations of air transport

  1. It is relatively more expensive mode of transport.
  2. It is not suitable for transporting heavy and bulky goods.
  3. It is affected by adverse weather conditions.
  4. It is not suitable for short distance travel.
  5. In case of accidents, it results in heavy losses of goods, property and life.

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