Question: I am interested in starting a business in the transport sector? What mode of transport should I consider?
Chukwuma Ibeji, Enugu.
Answer: Transport-related businesses serve millions of Nigerians who rely on them to move from one place to the other. Given the general scope of your question, it will help to consider the various areas of transportation, to enable you decide on the modes you will invest in, based on your interest and the resources available to you.
There are three basic modes of transportation, namely air, land and water.
The air transport business relates to the aviation industry. The options range from the low-end of running an airline to the high-end of manufacturing aircraft, with provision of ancillary and/or support services to both ends coming in the middle. Needless to say, considering the investment required, transport by air offers limited opportunities for small and medium business operators.
The land transport business, because of its relatively low-entry requirements, provides ready opportunities for an aspiring small business owner. This involves the commercialisation of vehicles like bicycles, motor cycles, tricycles, cars, buses, trucks, etc.
Because of the low-income of majority of Nigerians, land is their most common mode of moving themselves and their goods around, and presents business opportunities for investors with little or no capital to test their entrepreneurial skills. In urban centres, for example, the bus transport service offers investment options for an enterprising investor. Same can be said of taxis which, with car rental services and new entrants like Uber, are possible investment options.
The country’s long coastline on its southern border with the Atlantic Ocean, with its estuaries, rivers, lakes, lagoons, etc. and its network of inland waterways, provide investment opportunities for entrepreneurs interested water transport. For example, ferry services in a city like Lagos is beginning to gain popularity.
With the foregoing in mind, you need to decide which form(s) of transportation you plan to provide for commercial purpose. Whichever you choose, you will need to adopt a formal and structured approach to starting your transport business. You will need to prepare your business plan, find capital, register the business, procure necessary licences, engage staff, etc.
Clearly conceived and diligently executed, the transport business remains a viable business opportunity for a budding entrepreneur.
Best of luck.