Transportation using roads is known as road transport. It includes transportation of goods and people separately, making use of the transportation technology. Keeping in mind the safety measures and licensing requirements, both industries are separate. Local infrastructure development, the distance that goods travel, the quantity of shipment, and the type of goods determine the nature of road transport. It plays a very important role for the suppliers because it suits them for business. The fact and assured service of the mode of transport make it popular.
Before choosing road transport for transportation purposes, one should consider the advantages and disadvantages of road transport. Let’s see both aspects one by one.
Advantages of road transport
Road transport has a lot of benefits, from the ease of access to the low cost. But there are more. These are the advantages of road transportation –
1. Small capital investment
Compared to air and rail transport, this mode of transportation requires lesser capital investment for construction and maintenance. We discussed the cost of air transportation in detail in our article on advantages and disadvantages of air transport. Unlike rail transport, the freight for goods or people are charged on a per-unit basis. Because it involves the government or local authority in its construction, it demands a small amount of revenue for using the road. These two factors together make the transport cost-effective.
2. Short distance and door to door service
It is an ideal way to transfer goods or people faster from one place to another. Short-distance travel tends to be economical and quicker using road transport. Unlike any other service, goods can be moved directly from origin to destination. It excludes intermediate loading and unloading of goods. In other words, it gives us a door-to-door service. This provision helps to reduce the overhead expenses related to a carriage. Also, it omits the intermediary cost in the case of railway and airway that increases the cost of transportation. Advantages and disadvantages of rail transport will give you a better idea.
3. Flexible service with rural area coverage
Road transport gives the advantage of being flexible over the other modes. The routes and routines are subject to the convenience of an individual’s needs. Because it is a local mode, it is convenient to sometimes shift the schedule as per requirement. Rails or airways do not connect all the rural areas. In such cases, road transport does the required job. Vehicles moving on the road carry the goods or passengers to and fro between villages and cities, making their life easier. The cargos move from cities to villages only through roads. Also, the booking formalities are less compared to rail and air transport.
4. Feeder transport and Private Vehicles
Road transport acts as a feeder, providing a link between air, water, and rail cargos. Picking the goods from the source and delivering them to the destination is the job designated to road transport, irrelevant of the mode of cargo transportation. The door-to-door service is advantageous for feeder transport.
As the company can own the vehicle for road transport, this allows the businessmen to market their products using their own road services. Thus, reduction in maintenance cost and formalities reduces the total cost of the product, which helps to capture the market strongly. Check on time issues and flexibility of working in own time and space sphere is an additional advantage for the business.
5. Easy transportation of perishable goods and labor
Goods with a shorter life span need faster transportation. For this purpose, road transport is the best. Fruits, vegetables, and the like, need to be delivered over a short distance before they get spoiled. Transportation of these is from farm to city by vehicles that run on the road. Rural people working in urban areas find this mode most suitable for daily movement between the industries and homes.
6. Less packaging waste
Using road transport for delivering goods will result in less amount of package wastage. Because of the way large containers used in other forms of transportations to pack things because of the extra safety requirements, there is a lot of additional packaging wastage. For road transportation, this extra layer of safety can be compromised. Because they are pretty safe unless the delivery company mishandles the goods.
7. Less risk of goods damage
As a continuation to the previous point, there is less damage risk involved as long as the delivery company is careful enough. While other forms of transportation has various warehouses and sorting facilities where the goods have to go through, the risk of damage is also higher. The less number of hands it goes through, the better.
Disadvantages of road transport
Turning to the other side of the coin, one discovers some disadvantages of road transport. Let us discuss this aspect also.
1. Prone to accident and weather
If we compare road transport to other modes, it is more susceptible to accidents and breakdowns. Reasons are many like traffic, negligence, lack of complete control and so on. That means it turns to be an unsafe option and unpredictable if the goods or people will safely land at their destination. Changing weather conditions have an impact on road service. Rain or floods and fog hamper transportation, causing delay and goods spoilage. Also, the rate of accidents increases during this time, and then it becomes risky to travel. It may cause a huge loss. One cannot rely on road transport during this period of the year.
2. Unsuitable for heavy cargo and long distances
When it comes to the movement of heavy cargo, road transport fails. It can manage for short distances, but it is unfit for long distances. With limited and fixed space, road vehicles are not able to cope with heavy objects. Yet another disadvantage is that it costs much when we want to transport less valuable goods over large distances. The slow speed compared to rail and air transport for longer routes is a disincentive.
3. No maintenance of roads and high fuel prices
Adequacy and maintenance of the road is a primary requirement for road transport. If the roads are not good and inadequate, the transport system cannot work smoothly. For this, road maintenance becomes a must. It is a big disadvantage of road transport. The everyday rising price of fuel disturbs the balance sheet of the business. Not only does the calculation of the cost become difficult, but maintaining the number of vehicles for a business is also hard. A variation in fuel prices increases the operational cost, thereby increasing the cost of road transport.
4. Unorganized system
Air, land, and water transport (advantages and disadvantages of water transport) are more organized compared to the road transport system. Many times, its flexibility proves to be advantageous, but the charges are not stable or equal, which makes the calculation tedious. One cannot depend on road transport because it is not regular with fixed timing. As said earlier, road transport allows privately owned vehicles to move. Hence, many owners create multiple choices for the users, creating disorganization in the system. Transport systems having a single owner are more structured.
5. Slow delivery over long distances
While most of the short-distance deliveries utilizing road transportation can be delivered quickly, there is a chance for the long distance deliveries to take forever. A delivery truck will be obviously faster over a distance of 5 or 10 kilometers due to the preparations required to load shipments on a container ship or airplane. But when we are talking about hundreds or even thousands of kilometers, an airplane or container ship is going to be way faster. So, when it comes to package deliveries overseas, there is no question that road transportation doesn’t stand a chance.
6. Lack of workers
There is a shortage of workers in the road transportation field. They need more people to do the job because of the demand. When compared to other forms of transporting things, the amount of people required for road transportation is tens or even hundreds of times bigger. The lack of workers in the field, especially in rural areas, makes it difficult to transport goods from one place to another. Low wages in comparison also contributes to less interest in the field.