Traveling by water can be quite a pleasant experience for some people. The trip is going to be slow, allowing them to make the most of the moments. The wonderful wildlife makes the traveling experience worthwhile, too. Furthermore, water transportation is also used for other purposes such as freight and mails. It is a very convenient mode of transportation technology when it comes to transporting bulky, non-perishable, and perishable goods. Various water transport vehicles such as cruise ships, submarines, cargo ships, yachts, motorboats, and ferries are used here. And, each of them provides immense benefits. Now, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of water transport.
Advantages of Water Transport
There are a lot of perks that come with water transportation, and here are some of them in detail.
1. Low costs
It is one of the reasons that make water transportation a favorable option. The operating and maintenance costs are comparatively lower compared to other modes of transportation. There is little to no need of maintaining the water bodies, making it an inexpensive choice of transportation. There are fuel expenses, but their cost is usually mitigated by size – if the water transport vehicles are large, they can operate at very low costs. For other modes of transport, distance plays an important role in deciding the fare. But in water transportation, there is a little dependence of distance on transit costs.
2. Good capacity
The storage capacity of water transport carriers is superb. Therefore, it can transport a lot of bulky goods or carry more passengers. Whereas, the same is not true for other modes. The number of goods that can be carried is predefined, and mostly they are very few compared to water transportation. This mode of transport allows people to carry a lot of luggage hassle-free, and at a very low cost.
3. Natural route
Water transportation uses the natural route, which is free. This gives more flexibility in transporting goods and taking people to different places. When it comes to road and rail transportation, there are several charges applicable, eventually increasing the overall fare. In water transportation, more goods and people are involved, so charges are distributed among them, resulting in low fares.
4. Water transportation plays an integral role in Foreign Trade
World trade has never been so developed as in the modern age. However, we can not simply ignore its presence in the pre-internet era. Countries around the globe have been trading with each other since the beginning of time. And it’s all thanks to water transportation. As we know, Earth is three-forth water, and waterways have played a significant role in a country’s foreign trade policy. We all know how the rest of the world did business with the Northern American continent before air travel.
Even today, water transport makes up for a hefty sum in a country’s foreign exchange reserve. It is a stable and constant source for a country to engage in Foreign trading. As we discussed in our article, advantages and disadvantages of Air transport, the cost of water transportation is also way lower in comparison.
5. Deals with natural calamities
Weather can be very unpredictable sometimes. Even though we use forecasts to prepare in advance, that still isn’t enough sometimes. In times of natural disasters, there are unexpected delays, interrupting the operations of vehicles. The flights are canceled or delayed, whereas the roads and rails are disrupted. At least, in such times water transport vehicles can operate normally, as they have a durable and independent nature. It also makes water transportation a good choice for relief operations in such times.
6. Environmentally friendly
Transportation releases carbon dioxide, increasing the carbon footprint. Through green initiatives, we have come to realize how important it is to reduce the carbon footprint to prevent and reduce global issues such as climate change and pollution. Compared to other modes of transport such as road, rail, and air, water transportation emits less carbon dioxide, having a lower carbon footprint. But, this is the case, only when we consider an ideal scenario where there are no incidents such as oil spills.
Disadvantages of Water Transport
By now, you should be convinced how beneficial water transportation is for us. But now, let’s look at some of its downsides.
As long as you are not in a hurry, you can opt for water transportation. That’s because transporting goods and traveling via water transport vehicles can be very time-consuming. Even though you get an estimated delivery date, several factors can impact the journey. This is true in cases of long journeys, as routes need to be considered well before deciding on estimated delivery dates. When compared to other transportation modes, water transportation is not a suitable option for urgent and critical situations.
2. High risks
For several reasons, water transportation can be considered a safe mode of transportation. But there are still risks involved here, and these risks are high. The goods are transported via water bodies and when there are accidents, it destroys the nearby area. Things get worse when there are accidents of hazardous materials. The delay in delivery can force people to make wrong decisions that can have consequences, which is why safety should be prioritized over the delay.
Water transportation is not suitable for every type of goods. For perishable goods, it must be ensured that delivery is made a priority if they are to be used for consumption. But, the unpredictable long journey via water transportation can also prove to be risky. Businesses invest a lot in transporting the goods, and if the delivery couldn’t be done at the required time, then it incurs massive costs. Also, for urgent deliveries, it is better to go for other modes of transportation where the possibility of delay is negligible.
4. Preparation time
The preparation time for journeys in water transportation is more compared to other modes of transportation. The direct impact of increased preparation time is on its frequency. Considering it takes a lot of time to prepare for transporting goods and taking people to places, it can be said that it is not suitable for short-distance journeys. The reason being it will consume a lot of time, and on top of that, it can get expensive.
Although it is a more conventional sort of transportation, it is also the only one to be prone to pirates. Yes, we know that the age of pirates has long gone with all the new technologies and devices. However, multiple water routes over the globe are still facing this particular problem. These pirates use heavy weaponry to commandeer a trade ship and ply their extortion tactics. In the absence of any major authoritative presence on the open seas, piracy seems to have gained a firmer foothold and reared its ugly head.
6. Lack of infrastructure
No doubt, water transportation is becoming popular, but do we have the infrastructure to support its growth? This is one of the drawbacks of water transportation. It requires access to ports, and they are not easily available. Additionally, there are multiple restrictions imposed on the types of goods that can be transported, which further makes it an unsuitable option for doing business. Moreover, the existing ports have predefined regulations which prohibit certain types of water transport vehicles from entering. And, for nations where there is no infrastructure or facility to fulfill the requirements of water transport vehicles, the deliveries get delayed resulting in losses.