Transport Business in Nigeria: 12 Successful Steps And Ideas

Welcome to Businessanthem. If you wish to understand or want to venture into Transport Business in Nigeria then you have landed on the right page.

We present information about the Transport Business in Nigeria showcasing how to start, steps, and ideas to make it successful.

Get ready to have the best information about the Transport Business in Nigeria.

Transport Business in Nigeria

Transport business is one of the best business ideas in Nigeria. It is a possible investment since the market is there for you and besides, those in the business already are racking handsome profits. The transportation business in Nigeria is still growing with the increase in population which is estimated above 180,000 million. 

The high demand for the movement of passengers and goods from one destination to another makes business economically viable in Nigeria. The majority of the Nigerian population uses public transport.

Before we present how to start and operate a transport business in Nigeria, permit us to showcase the types of transport businesses in Nigeria today. So you can access and choose from many and varied and different entrepreneurs types of transport businesses based on your interests, location, capital intensive, and experience.

Types of transport business in Nigeria

The transport business in Nigeria includes road/land transport, rail transport, water transport, air transport etc. Each serves a unique purpose and meets different needs in the transportation ecosystem in Nigeria.

The transport business in Nigeria is prevalent by Road transport with a vast network of highways and urban roads, connecting cities, towns, and rural areas. Rail transport has significantly faced challenges in modernization and expansion. Water transport is important for Nigeria because of its extensive river systems and access to the Atlantic Ocean. Air transport is increasing with several airports and airlines serving domestic and international routes.


  • Land Transport business in Nigeria
  • Water Transport business in Nigeria
  • Air Transport Business In Nigeria
  • Railway Transport Business In Nigeria

1. Land/Road Transport business in Nigeria

Motorcycling (Okada) 

This is the use of a motorcycle to carry passengers within a town, city, or village.  Motorbike, one or two passengers at a time depending on the area you are operating. Some states discourage the use of motorcycles as a means of transportation some states have a ban, particularly in the cities, and other states are likely to follow.

Tri-cycling (keke napep) 

This is an improvement to motor motorcycles that carry three passengers to four passengers. The Keke Napep has become a popular mode of transportation and is expected to continue being a prominent choice for commuting in the foreseeable future. Some state governments in Nigeria are currently replacing motorcycles with keke napep.

Commercial luxury buses and mini-buses

These vehicles serve urban routes, facilitating the transportation of passengers. Commuters heading to their workplaces and travelers venturing beyond state boundaries rely on this mode of transport.

These vehicles operate on city routes, facilitating passenger transportation within the state and travelers exploring regions beyond state borders.

Car town service (taxi)

This is also used to convey passengers within the state.  It is a more secure means of transport than the unregistered and unpainted because each owner registers the car with the state government agency.  There is also another form of car service used to carry passengers for a short distance journey.

Haulage transport service

Haulage transport service is the use of different types of automobiles to carry goods from one place to another. There are different types of vehicles used for Haulage transport services such as tankers, trailers, tippers, etc. are used to convey different kinds of goods.

Pipe Transport Business In Nigeria

This is a means used to convey liquid products from one place to another. Especially, water, and petroleum products such as petrol kerosene, and diesel are transported from oil walls to refineries and different depots through pipelines.

Animal-Drawn Cart Transport Business in Nigeria

The animal-drawn cart transport business in Nigeria a traditional means of transportation, still plays a significant role in certain regions of the country. Particularly in some parts of the Northern region of Nigeria, rural and semi-urban areas.

This form of transportation depends on the power of animals like oxen or horses to pull carts. Those depend on them for agricultural activities, trade, and local transportation. animal-drawn carts remain an affordable transport business in Nigeria.

2. Water Transport Business in Nigeria

The water Transport business in Nigeria is an untapped business opportunity. Nigeria is a country with places having water bodies that should drive transportation. Just a few ferry, boat, or ship and canoe systems operate mostly in Bayelsa, Rivers, Lagos, and a few other states.

Nigeria’s rivers consist of over 10,000km, River Niger and River Benue form the major rivers. They are jointly conference in Kogi state, with the route between the hinterland and Urben areas through the lagoon and Niger Creck. Interlock water bodies with burkina faso, Chad Niger, and Mali and an extensive Coastland of over 852km. The Water Transport business in Nigeria has great potential to move goods from one point to another.

Ferries form a part of the public transport system in many countries where substantial water bodies are available to operate boats commercially. While Nigeria is a country with places having water bodies that should drive transportation, only a few formal ferry systems exist, and prominent here is Lagos.

Water transport is the movement of people and goods by boat, ship, barge, or sailboat across ocean, sea, lake, canal, or river.

3. Air Transport Business In Nigeria

The Air Transport Business In Nigeria has proven to be the fastest means of movement of passengers and goods from one destination to another. It is important for the movement of air cargo, and passengers connecting the Nation and out world.

A recent review of the studies in Nigerian air transport reveals that the Air Transport Business In Nigeria has not been paying much attention to the flow of air cargo, and the country does not have dedicated air cargo airlines operating within the domestic airports. Which is a great opportunity for investors.

4. Railway Transport Business In Nigeria

The Nigeria Railway Transport Business In Nigeria which proved to be the cheapest means of transporting goods and passengers is currently not functioning to the expectation. Nigeria is a vibrant business environment Considering the large population and a lot of Agricultural produce. The Railway Transport Business In Nigeria is a viable business that has the potential for revenue generation or profitability and employment.

The Railway Transport Business In Nigeria can be carried out by government and non-governmental organizations. However, It will need sound knowledge, technical know-how, strategies, and huge capital investment to start and operate successfully.

Steps And Ideas to Start a Successful Transport Business In Nigeria

Here are the steps to make headway success in the transport business in Nigeria,  you must be aware of the following:

  1. Choose the specific transportation enterprise you intend to undertake.
  2. Develop a Business Plan
  3. Have Entrepreneurial knowledge and Skills in the Type of Transport business you want to Operate
  4. Choose your location and the lucrative routes
  5. Register Your Transport Business
  6. Get The Necessary Licenses And Permits
  7. Having Knowledge of Laws in the Type of Transportation Business You Want to Operate
  8. Driving it yourself
  9. Pay Close Attention to the Management Activities
  10. Engaging a Professional
  11. Market Your Business
  12. Provide Excellent Customer Service

Steps And Ideas to Start a Successful Transport Business In Nigeria in detail:

1. Choose the specific transportation enterprise you intend to undertake.

Choose whether it is a Ferry, tri-cycling, or business, they are slightly different from a commercial bus business. The capital investment and the regular vehicle maintenance and running costs are much higher than the tri-cycling business, however, the daily return is also different.

2. Have Entrepreneurial knowledge and Skills in the Type of Transport business you want to Operate

You must as an entrepreneur and have reasonable knowledge as a driver and/ or mechanic. The reason for this is simple, the average commercial driver is dishonest. 

He will tell you lies about a police arrest today, and the next day it is about the vehicle breaking down, all in an attempt to make extra money .  Sometimes he is absent from duty with the excuse he is feeling unwell,  would you allow your vehicle to be idle for how many days before he reports back to duty?

3. Develop a Business Plan

Your business plan should outline your vision for your transport business, your target market, your pricing strategy, your marketing plan, and your financial projections.

Your business plan will serve as a roadmap for your business and help you stay focused on your goals.

4. Choose your location and the lucrative routes

Ensure thorough research to confirm that your chosen location is ideal for your transportation business, considering both the financial implications and the requirements set forth by the State Government. It is advisable to begin on a smaller scale to gain valuable experience before expanding your operations significantly.

5. Register Your Business

Once you have a solid business plan and have acquired your licenses, the next step is to register your business with the appropriate government agencies. 

You need to obtain a business name registration, a tax identification number, and any necessary licenses or permits required by the transportation industry.

6. Get The Necessary Licenses And Permits

You will need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Transport operators in Nigeria must secure licenses and permits from the government before commencing their operations.

The specific prerequisites are different based on the chosen mode of transportation. You must register with the licensing authority, and obtain insurance and other necessary documentation that will enable you to operate without hindrance. 

Failure to obtain the necessary licenses and permits can lead to hefty fines and even the impounding of your vehicle.

This can be frustrating and time-consuming. If you need clarification on any of the requirements, consider consulting an expert or an experienced transport business owner for advice.

Here are some of the licensing authorities In Transport Business in Nigeria

  • Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO)
  • Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN)
  • National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW)
  • National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF)
Here are some of the licensing needed
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
  • Road roadworthiness certificate, and a Vehicle Insurance Certificate. 
  • Motorcycle Rider’s Card and a Motorcycle License. 

7. Have Knowledge About the Rules and regulations of the Transport Business You Want to Operate

Have a reasonable idea of what action of the driver constitutes an offense for which he can be arrested as well as know the route of your drivers. Study the traffic laws of the state in which you are operating.

8. Manage it yourself

Acquire the necessary skills needed to manage your commercial transport business at the beginning stage and you will manage it more prudently.

If you are managing it yourself make sure you have the required skills and licenses and be a member of the transport union. Within one year in the transport business in Nigeria, you will no longer be a stranger in the business and you stand to gain so much when engaging another professional.

9. Pay Close Attention to the Management Activities

You must pay close attention to the maintenance activities of the vehicle. Investigate what are the average daily costs of running a transportation business and the average revenue that is feasible on a daily or weekly basis.

10. Engaging a Professional

If you have other businesses you are running, engage a professional driver and negotiate a favorable memorandum of understanding between you and your driver.

The amount agreed with the driver is sometimes dependent upon the location, type of vehicle as well and size of the vehicle.

Use professional drivers who are familiar with the vehicle engine, this is necessary so that the driver will always be able to drive the vehicle to the mechanic workshop whenever the unexpected happens, i.e. vehicle breakdown.

11. Market Your Business

This is the stage of marketing your transport business. This includes creating a website, social media accounts, and business cards to promote your services.

You can also extend exclusive discounts or promotions to entice new clients and cultivate a devoted customer community.

It’s essential to take this feedback seriously and use it to improve your services. Respond to negative reviews with empathy and a willingness to address the issue. Use positive reviews as testimonials to promote your business.

It is only by prudent management of your resources and the hard work of your transport business that you become successful.

12: Provide Excellent Customer Service

Customer service is one of the major aspects of any successful business, and the transport business is no exception.

Customers should have the full expectation of reaching their destination both punctually and securely.

A transport business must ensure its vehicles are regularly maintained, clean, comfortable, and safe for their journey. Also provides information about schedules and routes and friendly staff willing to assist your customers.


The transport business in Nigeria plays a key role in the economic development and functioning of Nigerian society. The transport sector in Nigeria faces significant challenges and promising opportunities. This comprehensive overview sheds light on the key components, of The transport business in Nigeria and prospects for the future.