Large producers and dealers of goods often use their own motor trucks, delivery vans and other vehicles for inward and outward transport of goods. There are also public transport agencies which operate trucks and vans on hire. Vehicles owned by producers and dealers are put to use , whenever required. A separate department is generally entrusted with the task of proper maintenance of the vehicles and regulating their movement.
Hired vehicles are generally used on a contract basis for regular purposes. Alternatively, vehicles are hired from agencies as and when required. A truck service can also be arranged for less than full truck load. Before they are loaded into the vehicle, goods are required to be packed in crates or wooden cases or in bales or any other form depending on the nature of the product. However, packing may not be needed in the case of goods like iron rods, beams, bricks, sand, stone chips, minerals, coal, etc., which are carried in bulk. Motor vehicles are also specially made known as tankers, for carrying liquids in bulk.
Advantages of Road Transport
A comparatively much lower capital Investment is required in road transport, compared to other modes of transport such as railways and air transport. There are several other advantages of transport by road as mentioned below.
1. The user gets complete service by way of loading of goods at the desired location and unloading at the exact place where required. The time of loading and unloading can also be adjusted according to convenience. The truck service can be arranged for varying quantities of goods. Besides, the transport operator can serve a number of places on the way for loading and unloading. Overall, the road transport service offers a lot of flexibility in operation.
2. For short distances, motor transport is speedier as well as cheaper. It is cheaper than rail transport because the truck operators are not required to construct or maintain the roads.
3. Goods do not have to be loaded and unloaded more than once. There is no necessity of transshipment on the way. Thus, handling operations are minimum. Loading and unloading can be done in shorter time and at lesser expense. Fragile goods and goods susceptible to damage can be taken care of at the loading and unloading stages as the sender and receiver have the opportunity to supervise the handling operations.
4. The regularity of service (schedules of operation) is maintained by most established transport agencies. The reliability i.e. safety of goods and timely service, is also assured with little or no difference in cost.
5. The pressure on railway transport has been taken over by road transport, which also serve as feeder to railways.
6. Inaccessible terrains like hilly and mountainous areas can be reached by road transport, which is the only means of transport available in such terrains.
Disadvantages of Road Transport
Road transport is disadvantageous for long distances as it is uncomfortable as compared to the railroads. It is also not suitable for bulky goods. There are some other disadvantages of road transport as outlined below:
1. Services may be delayed on account of breakdown of vehicle or road congestion.
2. There is no uniformity of rates charged by different agencies. The rates are neither Transport and Warehousing competitive nor stable over time.
3. In the case of small operators, there is no fixed time schedule and thus the service is not dependable.
4. Adequate protection against loss or damage is often lacking and risks cannot be insured easily.
5. For heavy and bulky loads to be carried over long distances as also for goods of small value, road transport is relatively costlier than railway transport due to the limited carrying capacity of motor trucks and high cost of fuel.
Suitability of Road Transport over other modes of transports
Considering the advantages of road transport, it may be found more suitable in the following cases:
1. For small consignments over short distances.
2. Where speedy movement is required and the distance is short.
3. When loading and unloading of goods are required at locations and at hours convenient to the sender and receiver of goods.
4. For handling goods to and from railway stations and sidings i.e. as a feeder service.
5. In hilly and mountainous terrains which are not accessible by rail transport.
6. Fast movement of perishable goods like vegetables, milks, fruits, etc., for limited distances.