Transportation is one of the aids to trade. It is the process of conveying goods and people from one place to another either through water, road, rail or air. It is simply the movement of goods and people from one place to another.
Transportation plays crucial roles in commercial activities because people that are geographically separated are brought together by it, e.g. the advanced countries and their less developed counterparts.
Transportation has also facilitated and quickened the transfer of raw materials from their source to the production points.
Importance of Transportation
- Widening of the Firm’s Market: Transportation has the ability to extend a firm’s market for the sales of the firm’s products. It aids the movement of people and goods to the interior, thereby widening its market.
- Encouragement of International Trade: The development of transport by air and sea has greatly promoted and encouraged trading activities between one country and another.
- Effective and Efficient Distribution of Goods: Transportation facilitates and quickens the effective distribution of goods and services to areas where they are needed.
- Prevention of Wastage of Perishable Goods: A good and efficient transport system will ensure quick distribution of perishable goods to areas where they are needed, and therefore prevents wastage.
- Movement of Productive Resources: A good transport system will help in moving productive resources from areas where they are available to areas where they can be put to adequate use.
- Development of Specialisation: Improved means of transport is an essential ingredient in the development of division of labour and specialisation which make mass production possible.
- Improved Standard of Living: Transportation helps to make goods and services available at the right time and right place and thus helps to improve the standard of living of the people. It has also led to economic growth and development in Nigeria and other countries of the West African sub region.
- Development of Rural Areas: Transportation has greatly encouraged the development and growth of the rural areas of a country.
- Movement of goods and persons: Transport facilities the movement of goods and persons from one place to another.
- It influences the location of industries: The existence of good transport network do help in the location of industries.
- Employment opportunity: All means of transportation employs lots of people, thereby, enabling them to earn a living.
FACTORS DETERMINING THE CHOICE OF TRANSPORTATION
- Nature of goods: The nature of the goods to be transported will determine the means of transportation to be used. Perishable and fragile goods for example, are better handled by fast means of transportation like aircraft while bulky goods are better handled by ship or rail.
- Cost of transport: The overall cost of transport does determine the choice of means of transportation of goods. Air transport is costly while rail is cheap over a long distance and this will determine the choice of either of the two to use.
- Weighty/Bulky goods: Goods that are heavy and bulky are better moved by road, rail and sea while light goods are best suited for air transport.
- The type of transportation available in the area: The choice of transport can also be determined by the type of transportation available in the area. In the riverine areas, e.g. Niger Delta in Nigeria, the best means of transportation is through water.
- The value of the goods: Commodities with high values like jewellery are better transported by air so as to reduce pilferage.
- Distance involved: When the distance is long, the best means of transportation are water and air, irrespective of the cost while road transportation is good over short distance.
- The degree of urgency of delivery: Goods that require urgency in delivery are better handled by fast means of transportation.
- Consumers preference or choice: The choice of the consumer will go a long way to determine the means of transportation to be used.
- Speed: The speed of the means of transportation will be considered. Perishable goods, for example are better handled by fast means of transportation. In this kind of situation, rail may not be good because it is slow.
- Convenience: This depends on his choice in terms of variety and availability where the businessman resides.
FORMS OF TRANSPORT
There are four major forms of transport, namely: land, water, air, pipeline.