4 Major Factors That Influence The Choice of Modes Of Transport

We have already learnt the advantages and disadvantages of various modes of transport and their suitability from our earlier articles. Naturally, which mode of transport should be chosen by a business firm will depend upon the nature, weight, bulkiness and volume of goods to be transported. Generally, four major factors viz., cost, speed, flexibility and regularity of the service influence the choice of a particular mode. Let US discuss these factors briefly.


The most important factor is the cost of transport. Sea transport is by far the cheapest mans of transporting bulky and heavy goods, provided the speed of carriage is not an essential requirement. Rail transport is also a relatively cheaper mode of transport for heavy and bulky goods to be carried over long distances: It is also speedier than sea transport. But transport by rail is possible only when places are connected by railways. Transport by motor trucks is cheaper and speedier than rail transport for small consignments over short distances. But the cost of road transport by trucks is higher than that of rail transport for bulky goods of small value to be carried over long distances. This is due to the limited carrying capacity of trucks. Air transport is the fastest mode of transport but it is also the costliest mode. Its use is thus restricted to the carriage of perishable goods, valuable goods or spare parts of machinery urgently needed.


As regards speed of transport, motor transport by road is speedier than rail transport over short distances. But railways are potentially a speedier means than road transport for long distances. The quickest mode of transport is of course, air transport, and the slowest is water transport.


While choosing a particular mode of transport, you have to consider the flexibility of service also. In this respect, road transport is the most flexible mode. Carriage of goods by motor trucks is possible between all places. Goods can be picked up and delivered at any point and loading as well as unloading call be arranged at any convenient time. Rail transport is relatively less flexible, as it is generally available for carriage of goods only between certain definite places.
Sea transport provides services only between sea ports and to that extent is inflexible, but it is indispensable for trade between countries without common land frontiers. Air transport is also inflexible as a mode of transport. Carriage of goods is possible only between airports which are fewer and far between.


In the case of rail transport, regularity of service is most assured. The scheduled movement of railways is relatively less affected by weather conditions. Motor trucks may or may not have scheduled services but transport by trucks is somewhat affected by bad weather conditions. Sea transport is also available according to some schedule. Only in certain parts of the world, storms and freezing of sea water may affect this mode of transport. Air transport is also available according to a fixed schedule but the services are very much affected by weather conditions.

There are so many other factors i.e Safety, Nature of Commodity etc, those are tertiary to/ branchlet of these four main factors that influence the Choice of Modes Of Transport.

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