It encompasses the use of ships, barges, steamers, ocean liners, tankers, cruisers, ferries canoes and boats. It’s suitable over long distances, bulky and irregular shaped goods for the transportation of durables and for low but large cargo.
Advantages of water transport
- The medium occurs naturally thus no construction cost expect for artificial water ways e.g. canals.
- It is economical since it allows carriage of bulky goods over long distances.
- It facilitates carriage of special cargo since there are specially built ships.
- Large ships may be built to carry many goods thus lower carriage cost.
- It gives access to many countries of the world so long as they are bordered by water.
- Reliable due to adherence of strict schedules
- It has the largest capacity to transport any quantities
- It has a global reach since no coastline in all the continents is inaccessible.
- It has relatively low cost of transportation
- Its flexible i.e. the same vessel can carry variety of items
Disadvantages of water transport
- They are expensive to construct and to maintain.
- Artificial canals are expensive to maintain and to construct.
- Ship transport can be affected by unfavorable weather conditions weather conditions e.g. storms.
- It is susceptible to delays occasioned by congestion at the port if there are no adequate loading and offloading facilities
- There are higher labour requirements since its labour intensive.
- There are higher risks for total loss for cargo and goods incase of accident.
- It is unsuitable for perishable and urgently required goods.
- It is limited to only navigable area/ water bodies.
- Slow means thus unsuitable for carriage of perishable goods and urgently required goods