Road Transport: Advantages and Disadvantages

road transport

If you are selling your goods to another SACU or SADC member country, road transport would likely be an efficient mode of transport to deliver your products to your buyer effectively. Approximately 75% of trade between SADC countries depends on road transportation to successfully deliver goods.

Types of Road Transport Services

There are two types of road transport services available for shippers when selecting this option as their chosen mode of transport. Shippers can either pick a door-to-door service or a depot-to-depot service. The door-to-door service is available for full truck loads and smaller loads. It involves the transport company collecting the cargo from the exporter’s premises and delivering them directly to the importer’s designated place of delivery. If you opt for a depot-to-depot service, you will be required to deliver your consignment to the transport company’s depot in your country. The company will then transport your cargo to its depot in the importing country. Using road transportation to transport your goods across borders has distinct advantages and disadvantages for regional exporters and importers.

road transport

Benefits of Road Transport

Road transport is considerably cheaper than air freight and usually involves less risk of damage due to handling than would be the case if you were sending your goods by sea. Another distinct advantage is that road transport is not dependent on scheduled departure times or a sophisticated infrastructure of ports, airports, railway stations and tracks. The logistical accessibility of road transportation allows exporters or importers to transport goods to relatively inaccessible areas. However, this does not mean that road transport is without drawbacks in Southern Africa.

Disadvantages of Road Transport

In Southern Africa, shipping your goods via road transport requires more durable packaging than would be the case had you chosen to send your goods via air freight. The increased need for goods to be adequately packed and stowed is due to the deteriorating road conditions and adverse weather conditions faced by road transport operators in the region. Other disadvantages of road transport include lengthy delays at border posts and weight and volume restrictions that affect the amount of cargo that exporters can transport via road in a single consignment. Remember, a road haulier, even with a trailer, cannot carry the same amount of cargo as a train with multiple wagons or a new generation cargo vessel.

road transport

Which Mode of Transport is Best?

Although there are clear advantages and disadvantages to using road transportation to deliver your goods to your buyer, the eventual mode of transport chosen relies on several factors. Trade Forward Southern Africa, in collaboration with the International Trade Institute of Southern Africa, has created a free and comprehensive online training course on choosing an appropriate transport service to deliver your goods to your buyer successfully! Click the links below to sign up and get started.


To sign up to the School of Export CLICK HERE.

If you already have a profile, CLICK HERE to login to begin the module.


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