Transport 1

Topic Objectives

By the end of the lesson, the learner should be able to:

1. Explain the meaning and importance of transport to business.
2. Explain the essential elements of transport.
3. Describe the modes and means of transport.
4. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each means of transport.
5. Discuss the factors that influence choice of appropriate means of
6. Discuss trends of transport.

Meaning of Transport

Transport is the physical movement of people and goods from one place to another.

It helps bridge the gap between producers and consumers hence creating place utility.

Importance of Transport to Business

a) Bridging the gap between producers and consumers/ linking consumers to producers

- Transport links consumers to producers which enable the consumers to obtain the goods they need.

b) Employment creation

- Transport helps in solving unemployment problem by creating job opportunities. For example, people may be employed as drivers,pilots, mechanics and road constructors.

c) Promotes specialization

- Transport enables people to specialize in jobs they are best at. For example; producers would concentrate in production only while other people carry out distribution.

d) Making goods and services more useful

- Through transport goods are moved from a place where they are least required to a place where they are most required thereby making them more useful.

e) Improving people’s standard of living
- It enables consumers to get a variety of goods and services thereby improving the standards of living.

f) Availing a wide market for products

- It helps producers to widen the markets for their products by enabling them access to areas they would otherwise not have accessed

g) Increased production/ facilitates mass production
- Due to the wider market created through transport, producers are able to increase the volume of goods produced.

h) Avoiding wastage
- Transport makes it possible for surplus goods to be disposed of by taking them to areas where they are required. Perishable goods such as flowers, fruits and vegetables can also be transported fast hence minimizing/ avoiding wastage.

i) Promoting development of industries-Through transport, raw materials can be taken to manufacturing industries and also finished goods to the market.

Similarly, it promotes development of service industries such as tourism.

j) Adds value to goods and services

- creates utility in goods by moving them from the point of production to where they are needed thereby adding their value.

k) Leads to the opening of new markets

- Goods and services can be taken to
new areas with ease.

l) It facilitates the movement of labour

- people can easily move from where they stay to where they work.

Essential Elements of Transport

In order for a transport system to function efficiently it should have certain basic elements.

These elements are:

a) Unit(S) of carriage

b) Methods of propulsion

c) Ways

d) Terminals(terminus)

A. Unit(S) of carriage

This refers to anything i.e. vessel that is used to transport goods and people from one place to another. Units of carriage include: ships, trains, aeroplanes, motor vehicles, bicycles and carts. Units of carriage are also referred to as
means of transport.

B. Methods of propulsion

This is the driving force (source of power) that makes a unit of carriage to move.

The power for most vessels may be petroleum products, electricity, human force or animal power.


It refers to either the route or path passes by the vessel. The route can be on land, on water or through air. Examples of ways are roads, railways, paths,canals, seaways and airways.

The ways can be classified into either natural
ways or
manmade ways.

I. Natural ways

- As the name suggests, natural ways are the ways that are provided by nature. They are therefore free to acquire. They include airways
and seaways.

II. Man-made ways

- These are ways that are made available by human being.

They include roads, canals and railways. Manmade ways are usually expensive to construct and maintain.

D.Terminals (terminuses)

The vessel used to carry goods and people starts from one destination and ends up at another. At these destinations the loading and off-loading take place respectively.

The loading and off-loading places are referred to as terminals or terminus. Examples of terminuses are bus stations, airports and seaports.

Modes of Transport

Mode refers to the manner in which transport is carried out.

There are three modes of transport namely:

i. Land transport

ii. Water transport

iii. Air transport

1) Land transport

This mode of transport involves movement of goods and people using units of carriage that move on dry land. The various means under this mode includes:

a) Human Porterage

This involves human beings carrying goods on their heads, shoulders or backs.

Human Porterage as a means of transport is the oldest kind of transport and is still very common in our society.

The means is suitable for transporting light luggage over short distances.

It is also appropriate where other means of
transport are not available or convenient.

Advantages of Human Porterage

i. Could be the only means of transport available

ii. Compliments other means of transport

iii. Flexible as it has no fixed time table or routes

iv. May be a cheap means compared to other means of transport

v. Readily available when required

vi. Convenient over short distances

Disadvantages of human Porterage

i. Not suitable for long distances

ii. They add onto congestion on roads

iii. Not suitable for transporting heavy and bulky goods

iv. It is relatively slow

v.Relies on human energy which is exhaustible

b) Carts

Carts are open vessels usually on two or four wheels that are pushed or pulled by either human being or animals such as oxen and donkeys.

The carts pushed or pulled by human beings are referred to as hand carts or mikokoteni.

The ones pulled by animals, on the other hand, are called animal driven carts.

Carts are used to carry relatively large quantities compared to human porterage. Like human porterage, they are not suitable for long distances.

Types of goods that are transported using this means include, agricultural produce, water and animal feeds.

Advantages of carts

i. Compliments other means of transport

ii. Relatively cheap to hire

iii. Initial buying and maintenance cost is low

iv. Appropriate in remote areas where other means are not available

v. Readily available for hire

vi. Can carry fairly heavier and bulky goods

vii. Convenient for transporting goods over short distances

i. Disadvantages of carts

i. May not be suitable for transporting heavy and bulky goods

ii. Cause traffic jams on roads leading to congestion and accidents

iii. Not suitable for transporting goods over long distances

(a) Inland waterways

This is transport carried out on lakes, rivers and inland canals.

The Lake Victoria facilitates transport among the three east African countries i.e. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Ferries also connect the mainland to islands such as Rusinga Islands, found in Lake Victoria.

Water hyacinth has however been a threat to transport on the lake. Most rivers in Kenya are not navigable due to reasons such as:

  • Too small
  • Presence of rapids and waterfalls
  • Too shallow
  • Most are seasonal
  • High gradient

    Transport page 1 | Transport page 2 | Transport 3 |Transport page 4

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