Not flexible- It can only serve areas where there are railway lines

  1. Cannot be utilized while the tracks are being constructed unlike road transport-it has to be laid out in totality for it to be used.
  2. It is a slow means of transport when numerous stops to load or off-load cargo have to be made. This makes it an unsuitable means of transporting perishable goods.
  3. A break down along a railway line could easily result in a buildup of goods and passengers, resulting in alternative means of transport being sought.
  4. It is an expensive means of transport for small quantities of goods and for short distances.
  5. The loading and offloading at the start and end of each journey present opportunities for damage and loss of goods.
  6. It involves heavy capital investment to construct and maintain
  7. It requires specialized skills to operate.

Water Transport

It encompasses the use of ships, barges, steamers, ocean liners, tankers, cruisers, ferries canoes and boats. It’s suitable over long distances, bulky and irregular shaped goods for the transportation of durables and for low but large cargo.

Advantages of water transport

  1. The medium occurs naturally thus no construction cost expect for artificial water ways eg canals.
  2. It is economical since it allows carriage of bulky goods over long distances.
  3. It facilitates carriage of special cargo since there are specially built ships.
  4. Large ships may be built to carry many goods thus lower carriage cost.
  5. It gives access to many countries of the world so long as they are bordered by water.
  6. Reliable due to adherence of strict schedules
  7. It has the largest capacity to transport any quantities
  8. It has a global reach since no coastline in all the continents is inaccessible.
  9. It has relatively low cost of transportation
  10. Its flexible i.e. the same vessel can carry variety of items

Disadvantages of water transport

  1. They are expensive to construct and to maintain.
  2. Artificial canals are expensive to maintain and to construct.
  3. Ship transport can be affected by unfavorable weather conditions weather conditions e.g. storms.
  4. It is susceptible to delays occasioned by congestion at the port if there are no adequate loading and offloading facilities
  5. There are higher labor requirements since its labor intensive.
  6. There are higher risks for total loss for cargo and goods in case of accident.
  7. It is unsuitable for perishable and urgently required goods.
  8. It is limited to only navigable area/ water bodies.
  9. Slow means thus unsuitable for carriage of perishable goods and urgently required goods

Air Transport

It comprises air bound means of transportation like aero plane and helicopters means of transport

and therefore it’s suitable for urgently required light, perishable or highly valuable cargo. Air

freight is commonly used in exportation business and plays significant part in international


Advantages of Air Transport

  1. It is faster in nature thus perishable goods can be transported over long distances and also urgently needed goods.
  2. It is not hindered by physical barriers e.g. mountains.
  3. It is relatively flexible as remote areas can be reached by chattered planes/helicopter.
  4. The risk of loss through theft is minimal thus very valuable items like gold can be transported safely.
  5. It offers accessibility to far off places as it is limitless to stretching across continent.
  6. The way does not require construction or maintenance.
  7. The risk of loss through damage is minimized as there is less handling of goods.
  8. Reliable due to strict time schedules
  9. It provides the fastest link possible hence offsetting (cancel) the added cost.
  10. It has wide reach and global presence/ appeal.
  11. Guarantee of safety and security of cargo is generally higher.
  12. It is suitable for emergency supply like drugs, rescue efforts, humanitarian deliveries, and emergencies.

Disadvantages of air transport

  1. Combustible products e.g. petroleum cannot be transported by air.
  2. Construction and maintenance of airports, aircrafts are very expensive.
  3. It requires highly skilled and trained personnel.
  4. It is affected by extreme weather conditions e.g. mist.
  5. International travel is confined to major towns and cities thus road/railway has to be used to travel to rural areas.
  6. It is the most expensive mode of transport
  7. There are higher risk of total loss of cargo in case of accident
  8. It has limited capacity.
  9. The carrying capacity is limited thus not suitable for transporting heavy and bulky goods.

Pipeline Transport

It comprises underground transportation of liquid and gaseous cargo in pipes. The revolution of pipeline has made it very convenient and easy to transport oil, water and milk in some countries at minimum costs.

Advantages of Pipeline Transport

  1. It is a reliable and convenient means of transport-delays due to congestion or accidents are not experienced.
  2. It is a relatively cheap means of transport for liquid commodities i.e. it depends only on pressure generated at the main station and booster located along the pipeline
  3. It helps to reduce the number of tankers on the road thereby reducing tear and wear, congestion and the possibility of accidents on roads(less prone to accidents).
  4. Environmentally friendly.
  5. Low operating costs.
  6. Relatively secure in relation to thefts.
  7. Low maintenance costs.
  8. Large volumes of oil can be transported within a given time.
  9. It offers flexibility because it’s possible to switch from one fluid to another.
  10. It is cheaper than air and road transport.
  11. It is suitable for long distances haulage.
  12. There is more security of cargo.
  13. It is less labor intensive.
  14. It allows a continuous flow and supply of the cargo concerned. The flow can go on for 24 hrs. With minimal involvement of labor.

Disadvantages of pipeline transport

  1. It is inflexible in that once it is laid out it remains in that position.
  2. It is usually owned by a specific company meaning its use is restricted to that company unlike roads which are public.
  3. It is only economically justified if there is a constant supply of and demand for the commodity.
  4. There is a huge capital outlay required
  5. It has limited transportation i.e. only liquid and gas
  6. It is unsuitable for perishable liquids.
  7. It is subject to sabotage hence risk to cargo.
  8. It can result in heavy losses if there is leakage.
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