Transport by land is the means of conveying goods and passengers from one place to another through land. This means of transportation is very good for trading within a country, i.e ., home trade. Land transport can be divided into road and rail transport.
Road transport is the movement of goods and passengers on road by motor vehicles: buses, trailers, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, tricycles etc. It is the most extensively used of all the means of transportation. In order to be efficient, there must be well constructed road network linking different villages and towns together. There should also be some trans-highways linking countries.
The various means of transportation by road available are bus, lorries, trailers, tankers, bicycles, camel and tricycles.
Advantages of Road Transport
- Low maintenance cost: The cost of maintaining motor vehicles is low compared to aeroplanes or ships.
- Faster on short journey: Road transport is faster on short distance journey, e.g. Lagos to Ibadan. It is relatively a fast means of transportation.
- Flexible: There is high degree of flexibility since there is no fixed time schedule.
- Convenience: Goods are delivered at the door of the consumer, i.e ., it offers door-to-door services, which makes it convenient for the owners of the goods.
- Suitable for perishable goods: Road transport is good for conveying perishable goods, e.g. tomatoes as it is fast and easily accessible.
- Availability: The means of transportation by road are always readily available for use, e.g. car, trailer tanker, among others.
- Requires no special routes: Unlike train, road transport has no special routes like rail tracks, runways and terminals.
Disadvantages of Road Transport
- Not suitable for heavy and bulky goods: Road transport is not good for conveying heavy and bulky goods like machinery, coal, etc.
- Not suitable for fragile goods: Road transport is not good for fragile goods, e.g. glass plates, drinking glasses, mirrors, etc.
- Slow on long distance: It is slow when long distance is involved.
- Prone to accident: Road transport is too prone to accident than other means of transportation.
- Costly to transport bulky material: It is very costly to transport bulky materials by road, e.g. machinery.
- Welfare facilities are not provided: Facilities such as toilet, canteen, television are not usually provided in road transport as these are available in trains, water and air transport.
Reasons Why Road is Preferred to Rail
- Maintenance is cheaper than rail.
- It offers door-to-door services.
- It is faster than rail on short distance.
- It is more flexible as it does not travel on time schedule.
- Road transport can help to easily collect goods from the interior.
- Road transport is good for perishable goods.
- It is available in varieties.
Rail transport is the means of conveying goods and passengers from one place to another by train. Heavy and bulky goods are carried by train. A train cannot move on ordinary road but has special routes. It moves on iron tracks know as railway lines. In Nigeria, the Nigerian Railway Corporation manages the rail system.
Two types of trains can easily be identified.
These are: The passenger train and the goods train.
- The Passenger Train: The passenger train is used for carrying passengers from one place to another. A train has first, second and third class compartments. There is a considerable improvement in the services provided by the present-day rail system. Television and canteen services have been introduced in recent times.
- Goods Train: Goods train is used for conveying goods within the country. They can carry large amount of heavy and bulky goods,e.g. agricultural products, minerals, vehicle’s spare parts, metals, etc.
Factors Affecting Railway Charges
- The value of the goods.
- Weight of the goods.
- Quantity of the goods.
- Risk of damage.
- Nature of the goods.
- Distance or destination.
- Handling expenses.
Procedures for Carrying Goods
When goods are to be sent through the rail system, they are taken to the railway station where they are checked and weighed. A consignment note will be issued out, showing the following information: particulars of consignee, destination, weight and description of goods, transport cost, etc.
Advantages of Rail System
- Suitable for long distance: The rail system is good for long distance journey, e.g. Lagos to Kano.
- Standard rate of charges: Goods are weighed and charged at standardised rates.
- Suitable for heavy and bulky goods: Train is suitable for carrying heavy and bulky goods over long distances.
- It is very cheap: This is the cheapest means of transportation.
- High capacity: Trains carry more passengers/goods than motor vehicles.
- Less prone to accident: In rail transport, accidents are not common as in road transport.
- No traffic hold up: Rail transport is not usually affected by traffic hold up which is common in cities.
- Train operates on schedule: Rail transport is run on schedule.
- Provision of welfare services: In rail transport, passengers can enjoy toilet facilities, canteen services, television programmes, video and film shows, etc.
Disadvantages of Rail Transport
- It is not flexible: The operation of the rail system is not flexible because it requires special facilities like tracks and terminals.
- High cost of operations: The cost of purchasing, constructing and maintaining the train and its track is very high.
- Not suitable for perishable goods: Rail system is not suitable for perishable goods, e.g. tomatoes. This is because rail system is too slow.
- Slow on short distance: It is slow on short distance.
- It is not convenient: It cannot provide door-to-door services like road transport.
- Large capital outlay: Rail transport involves high capital outlay which individuals or firms can not provide.
- There is much delay: Trains stop at almost all stations, and this causes delay.
Reasons Why Rail is Preferred to Road
- Rail is good on long distance.
- Accident is not common unlike road.
- It is good for carrying bulky goods.
- Standard rates are charged.
- Entertainment and refreshment services are provided.