An oil pipeline. Image credit MediaWiki

An oil pipeline. Image credit MediaWiki

ZIMSEC O Level Commerce Notes: Transport: Modes of Transport: Pipeline

Pipe line transport


  • Is a direct mode of transport:
  • Provides a direct delivery i.e. they can reach the consumer directly.
  • Is ideal for transporting liquids and gasses e.g. LP gas and Petrol.
  • It is a fast mode of transport.
  • It moves large volumes of gas and liquids.
  • It protects liquids form contamination and pollution.
  • Prevents fluids from freezing.
  • It is very safe i.e.:
  • There is less danger of loss of the liquid through things like evaporation during transportation.
  • Risk of theft and pilferage during transportation is reduced.
  • Cheap to maintain because of very low operational costs.
  • Saves on labour.
  • Can be used for carrying alternative liquids.


  • It is expensive to build up a pipeline.
  • It is not ideal for transporting small and irregular cargo for example cooking oil.
  • It is limited to the transportation of liquids although coal pipelines do exist.
  • Is a one-way traffic system and thus return loads are not possible.

    Are susceptible to attacks during times of war for example the Renamo bandits constantly threatened Zimbabwe’s pipelines in Mozambique in the late 1980s.


    Requires additional pumping stations where the gradient is steep.


    Loss of liquid may be very high in the event of leaks developing.


    Leads to unemployment as it is a labour saving method.

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