The best shipping method for cars: RORO vs. Container Service

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October 23, 2017

When importing and exporting cars from overseas, which shipping method for cars is better? RORO or container service? This age-old question has irked many, so let’s find out.

People have diverse reasons and circumstances that necessitate the purchasing and the consequent import or export of vehicles from one country to another or from one geographical area to another.  Perhaps you are moving abroad or you have just bought your first car from China or Japan. Whatever reasons that you may have, the prospect of shipping a car from one destination to another brings its own unique sets of challenges and issues.

At the very least, you may want to keep your transportation or shipping costs as low as possible especially considering the fact that you may already have spent a fortune on your new car. Determining the best method for shipping your car from overseas is, therefore, an essential aspect of the process. If you have bought a car from overseas, your car will most likely be shipped by one of the two main options:

  • A Container shipping service
  • A Roll on Roll off (RORO) service.

While each of the two options will still deliver your new car to you, it is vital to weigh the cons and pros of each method so that you can make the right decision for your needs.

Shipping method #1: The RORO shipping method

RORO is primarily used for shipping all types of vehicles including buses, heavy agricultural utilities, plant machinery, SUVs, yachts and boats, trailer homes, trucks, cranes, excavators, cars, and any other type of motorized vehicle. The RORO shipping method is preferred by many because of its simplicity and its cost-effectiveness.

When using RORO, which means Roll on/Roll off, the vehicles being transported are simply driven, rolled, or towed directly on the ship at the port of loading before being transported to the overseas destination. Once the vehicles are on board, they are secured to the ship’s deck in a watertight vessel, sort of like a huge car park filled with new shiny cars.

When you select RORO as your shipping method of choice, you do not have to pay export warehouses for container packing, crating, port delivery or flat rack loading because the port workers take care of all the vital processes.

RORO is more effective when shipping a single car from abroad because your car can be dropped off directly at your desired destination. On the other hand, when shipping multiple vehicles, the scenario will dictate that you make multiple trips so as to offload the cars. Alternatively, you can hire a car carrier trailer, which will undoubtedly add to your expenses.

Furthermore, when shipping multiple cars from overseas, keep in mind that every car that you add to the RORO rosta will also increase your overall cost. Whether this seems like a good idea to you will depend on your budget as well as how far you live from the port or from your chosen freight forwarding service.


Shipping method #2: Container shipping

The RORO method of shipping a car is by far the most popular and viable technique for single cars. However, it does face several geographical limitations. For instance, RORO shipping is widely available but it is not accessible everywhere, which is where the container shipping method comes in to do what RORO shipping cannot.

Container shipping is more secure than the RORO shipping method and it has global routes pretty much in the most popular ports of the world. The container shipping method is ideal if you are shipping a brand new or a luxury car because containers ensure that your car arrives without any damages in most cases.

When using the container shipping method, your car is typically loaded into a shipping container and then it is secured using nylon, ratchet or chocks straps so that it does not move during transit. Upon loading, wooden braces are also placed around each of the vehicle’s tires and nailed to the floor to secure the car further.

If you are shipping additional items alongside your car such as tires, repair machinery etc, you can also place them inside your container to save costs. A standard 20 ft shipping container can accommodate a single vehicle and still leave plenty of space for other items while a 40 ft one can hold two average sized cars.

With the container shipping method, you are assured that your goods will arrive at your port of choice safely regardless of where in the world they are coming from. Shipping containers have to comply with strict regulations to make sure that they are structurally sound, watertight, and incapable of allowing damaging elements such as wind or water.

So which shipping method is best?

Consequently, your choice between the two shipping methods will depend on your budget and preference. Additionally, you will also have to determine the origin of your vehicle, the destination, and all the associated costs.

If you need to transport individual or multiple vehicles of any kind, you should only contact and hire the services of a reliable freight forwarding service such as Sidoman that can supply you with efficient, reliable and competitively prices container and RORO shipping solutions from various countries worldwide.

What to remember when picking your shipping method:

  1. If you pick RORO does your destination port have a facility that can handle RORO cargo such as an open space, godowns or a yard?
  2. After you evaluate all the costs involved including the cost of hiring a driver, the handling charges, picking your car from the airport, and so on, which between the two is more cost effective
  3. Is it possible to work out a discount from the terminal operator?
  4. How urgent do you need your car? Container shipping is regular and it is easy to predict. Therefore, if you need your car or goods urgently, you may be forced to select the container method to ensure that your goods arrive on time.

Want to learn more? Or simply want to get a RORO or container quote from a reliable service? Contact our team today.




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