The movement of goods from one place to another is called transport. Transport removes the hindrances of persons, place and time in exchange of goods and commodities. Effective transport plays an important role in the economic progress of the country.
The various modes of transport can be classified into three main divisions:
- Land Transport
- Water Transport
- Air Transport
The chief forms of land transport are:
I. Pathways Transport: Pathways are an important form of land transport. It is the oldest form of transport found in hilly areas, forest areas and in remote places. These are used by human beings and animals for transport. In forest and hilly areas transport is carried on through human beings. Animal transport has also played a significant role where there is no road and railway communication.
II. Roadways Transport: The Road is in every truth one of the great fundamental institutions of mankind. Its history dates back to the dawn of recorded history and beyond.... A people without the attributes of civilization. Man, the road builder, cannot be separated from Man, the builder of civilizations.
III. Tramways Transport: Tram cars, which are run on rails, are a very suitable mode of transport for carrying traffic during busy hours.
IV. Railways Transport: The railway has been the pioneer of modern mechanical transport. The first Indian railway train rolled on its 34 km track from Bombay to Thana on April 16, 1853. Right since its beginning and upto the advent of motor transport, it enjoyed monopoly as land transport. Railways have played a very significant role in the economic, social and political development of many countries in the world. Though the railway requires a very huge capital outlay as compared to other modes of transport, it is our principal means of transport. It carries about 70 to 80 percent of our total traffic of goods and people.
Water transport is the cheapest and the oldest mode of transport. It operates on a natural track and hence does not require huge capital investment in the construction and maintenance of its track except in case of canals. The cost of operation of water transport is also very less. It has the largest carrying capacity and is most suitable for carrying bulky goods over long distances. It has played a very significant role by bringing different parts of the world closer and is indispensable to foreign trade.
Kinds of water Transport
Water transport consists of:
I. Inland water transport: Inland water transport consists of transport by rivers, canals and lakes. Rivers are a natural highway which can be used as a means of transport. They are suitable for small boats as well as big barges. River transport played a very important role prior to the development of modern means of land transport.
II. Ocean Transport: Ocean transport is indispensable for the foreign trade. It has brought the different parts of the world closer and has knit together all the nations of the world into one big world market. It operates on a natural track i.e., the sea and does not require any investment in the construction and maintenance of its track. It is obviously, the cheapest mode of transport, Ocean transport includes (i) Coastal Shipping (ii) Overseas Shipping.
Air transport is the most recent mode of transport. It is the gift of the 20th century to the world. The two world wars gave a great impetus to the development of air transport in almost all the countries of the world. The peculiar characteristic of air transport is that it does not need a specific surface track for its operations. It has no physical barriers as in the case of other modes of transport. Political boundaries are also immaterial although it has to observe the requirements of the International Law. The supreme advantage of air transport lies in its quickness. It is the fastest mode of transport. But the cost of its operation is very high and thus it is suitable for only rich passengers, mails and light and costly cargo. However, in advanced countries like U.S.A., Germany, etc. it offers a tough competition to the railway.