What are the comparative advantages and disadvantages of carrying goods by rail and road?

The comparative advantages and disadvantages of carrying goods by rail and road.

Road transport occupies a significant place in country’s transport system. Roads are the most convenient way of transporting goods even if to the interior parts of the world. Road transport may be effected by bullocks, buffaloes, horses and mechanical power. Like road transport, railway transport also plays a significant role because 80 percent of the goods transported in our country is effected through railways. both the road transport and railway transport have their respective merits and demerits. The comparative merits and demerits of both the modes of transport can be considered on the following considerations.

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I. Cost:


The cost of transport of goods and passengers over a long distance is comparatively cheap in case of railway transport. This mode of transport is unsuited and uneconomical for short distance travel and transport of goods of small value. The cost of transportation of goods over a short distance is less in road transport because it saves a lot on packing cost and expenses on several handling.

II. Speed:

Railway transport are best suited for long distance traffic. Road transport is quicker over short distance because goods are loaded directly to the motor and transported to the place of destination.

III. Special Services:


Now-a-days a number of special services like warehousing, loading and unloading are provided by various transport agencies. Certain road transport organisations provide cold storage facility whereas railways have started special services or containers services.

IV. Nature of Commodity:

Road transport is suitable for carrying of perishable goods which require quick delivery. Railway transport is suitable for transportation of bulky, heavy and cheap goods over a long distance.

V. Distance:


Road transport is suitable for carriage of goods and people over a short distance whereas railways are quicker and economical and are best suited for carrying heavy goods over a long distance.

VI. Safety:

Goods are exposed to a great deal of losses. The losses to goods on account of transportation is comparatively lesser in road transport. Because of this reason, road transport is preferred to railway transport system.

VII. Capital Investment:

The capital investment of road transport is less as compared to railway transport.

VIII. Flexibility:

Road transport is more flexible because its route and timing can be adjusted to suit the individual requirement. It can provide door-to-door service because it is flexible. Railway transport cannot ensure door to door service and are made on a particular track of rails. So it is not flexible.

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