What Is RORO Shipping?

Roro ship loading vehicles

Roll-on, Roll-off (RORO) is a method of freight transportation that is used for speed efficiency and operations ease. In RORO, your self-propelled vehicles such as trucks and tractors roll on and off your vessel. This is in contrast to the typical freight loading and unloading process where filled containers are lifted with cranes. It is also possible that goods without self-propelling capabilities are rolled on and off using handling equipment.

Given that freight forwarding companies’ primary method of loading and unloading involves using filled containers, you might then question the use of RORO. In this article, we take a look at when and why you would choose a RORO arrangement.

Cost efficiency

Truck loaded onto roro ship

In most cases, RORO arrangements cost less than container shipping. The difference in price exist due to the reduced amount of resources required. In RORO, your vehicle or equipment handling device is simply driven onto the ship. Whereas for container shipping, your goods will need to be loaded onto a container before a crane loads it onto the ship. This process is repeated in reverse upon your goods reaching the destination.

Schedule reliability

An advantage of RORO shipping that the layman seldom considers is the reliability offered. One of the traditional drawbacks of container shipping is the potential delays experienced in having containers fully filled and loaded. In contrast, since no container or crane is in RORO, your vehicle is simply driven onboard. Without the extra logistical complexity, it is more likely that RORO arrangements stick on schedule.

Size of vehicles

Roro shipping operations onboard ship

Naturally, for your vehicles or goods to be transported in a container, they first need to be able to fit into a container. Certain vehicles do not easily fit into a container and thus would require disassembly. The extra effort here might not be worth it, especially since certain vehicles might be complex machines that require expert knowledge to reassemble. Furthermore, more resources will be wasted during the loading and unloading periods under this scenario.

Operation capability

Fourthly, it should go without saying that your vehicle needs to be capable of being driven onto and off the ship. Ideally, its capability will come from its self-propelling systems. Alternatively, a towing mechanism can also be used to have your vehicle transported onto the ship.

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