Water transport refers to movement of goods and passengers on waterways by using various means like boats, steamers, launches, ships, etc. With the help of these means goods and passengers are carried to different places, both within as well as outside the country. Within the country, rivers and canals facilitate the movement of boats, launches, etc. Since the goods and passengers move inside the country, this type of transport is called inland water transport. When the different means of transport are used to carry goods and passengers on the sea route it is termed as ocean transport. Let us know further about these two types of water transport.
- Inland water transport
Inland water transport use boats, launches, barges, streamers, etc., to carry goods and passengers on river and canal routes. These routes are called inland waterways and are used in domestic or home trade to carry bulky goods. Passenger transport through waterways is not so popular in our country. Inland water transport system exists only in few states like. West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu, etc.
- Ocean transport
Ocean transport refers to movement of goods and passengers with the help of ships through sea or ocean waterways. It plays an important role in the development of international trade. It is also used for transporting goods and passengers in the coastal areas. Ocean transport has its fixed route, which links almost all the countries of the world. Sea transport may be of the following two types.
- Coastal Shipping – In this transport, ships ply between the main ports of acountry. This helps in home trade, and also in carrying passengers within the country.
- Overseas shipping – In this transport, ships ply between different countriesseparated by sea or ocean. It is mainly used for promotion and development of international trade. It is economical means of transport to carry heavy machines and goods in bulk. Overseas transport is carried out on fixed routes, which connect almost all the countries. In ocean transport, different types of ships are used to carry passengers and goods. These may be classified as under.
- Liners – A liner is a passenger or cargo vessel, which belongs to a regular shipping company. These ships ply over a fixed route according to a prescribed schedule or timetable.
- Tramps – A tramp is a cargo ship, which does not make regular trips but plies whenever cargo is offered to it. It does not follow a fixed route or a prescribed timetable like that of liners.
Advantages of water transport
Water Transport has the following advantages:
- It is a relatively economical mode of transport for bulky and heavy goods.
- It is a safe mode of transport with respect to occurance of accidents.
- The cost of maintaining and constructing routes is very low as most of them are naturally made.
- It promotes international trade.
Limitations of water transport
Water transport has the following limitations.
- The depth and navigability of rivers and canals vary and thus, affect operations of different transport vessels.
It is a slow moving mode of transport and therefore not suitable for transport of
- It is adversely affected by weather conditions.
- Sea transport requires large investment on ships and their maintenance.