Ro-Ro ship

The Ultimate Guide – Ro-Ro Ship

Dear readers, let us have some space to introduce you to another exciting topic. It is also one of the most important topics related to the shipping or the marine industry. What do you know about RoRo ship? Is it new to you? Let us explain what it is.

What is a RoRo Ship?

Ro-Ro is a shortening for Roll-on/roll-off. RO-RO ships are vessels that are used to carry wheeled loads. These are also known as the roll-on-roll-off ship. The ro-ro ship is different from the Lo-Lo ship, which uses a crane to load the goods onto the ship. The specialty is that the vehicles in the ship are loaded and unloaded using built-in ramps. Typically, these ramps are made towards the back end of the ship. But certain ships have it on the front end and the sides. Military and civilian-type ships both have this feature. 

What is a RoRo Ship

Do you know what rolls on roll off meaning? 

It means that simply the vehicles can drive into the ship to load them or drive out of them to unload. What do you mean by Wheeled cargo? They are merely the loads with wheels such as cars, trucks, buses, semi-trailer trucks, buses, trailers, and railroad cars, trailers driven in and out of the ship on their wheels or sometimes transported on platform vehicles self-propelled modular transporter. These types of loads are called wheeled cargo for boats

You might have heard the term “rolling cargo.” Have you ever thought about what that meant? That means that the load has not been loaded onto the vessel it was planned to sail. It could be due to various reasons.

 Ro-ro ship specifications

Here are some interesting facts about the Ro-Ro ship specifications. We need to have a clear idea about these details if we wish to ship the wheeled cargo. 

According to what we have experienced, the RO-RO vessels need shore-based ramps or ferry slips that help the cargo be efficiently loaded on and off the ship when it is at the port. The smaller ferries that operate in the rivers and others that short travel distances generally have built-in ramps. But usually, the term Ro-ro is used for such ships that primarily work in the sea. The ramps and doors need to be located in the stern, bow, sides, or any combination to serve better.

Typically, the RORO vessels include ferries, cruise ferries, cargo ship, and barges that helps to transport all the RORO shipments. There are RORO vessels explicitly designed to transport new automobiles in modern days. We call these the pure car carriers[PCC] or Pure Car /Truck Carriers [PCTC]. These also have the standard specifications of a RORO ship.

Usually, in the shipping industry, we measure the cargo in tonnes. But RORO cargos are measured in lanes in meters.[LIM]. It is calculated by multiplying the cargo length in meters by the vessel’s number of decks and the width of the streets. But in PCC, the cargo capacity is often measured in RT43 units. This calculation is based on the measurements of the Toyota Corona vehicle in 1966, as it was the first car shipped in a RORO ship.

Below are the specific details of Car carriers- these ships have their loading gear, called the hanging decks. Also, these have a stern ramp and a side ramp for dual loading of thousands of vehicles (such as cars, trucks, heavy machinery, tracked units, Mafi roll trailers, and loose statics) and extensive automatic fire control systems. But The PCTC has liftable decks to increase vertical clearance. And they have heavier decks for “high-and-heavy” cargo. This type of ship can achieve a cruising speed of 16 knots at eco-speed, while at total rate can achieve more than 19 knots.

RORO ship design

When you talk about the specifications of a Ro-ro ship, the ship’s design has a very prominent part to play. Below are a few facts about the main features of the RORO carrier.

  • Stern ramp/door –

The stern ramp operates as a watertight door, and it fits with a rubber seal around the opening of the hull. It usually operates by hydraulic cylinders working directly on the ramp. But there are many other options available. The length of the ramp is designed to cope with tidal differences.

  • Hoistable ramp-

The hoist-able ramps allow more efficient use of cargo space than fixed ramps. We can choose between ramps designed to have only one end raised or put down between the car decks, or there are ramps where both ends are adjustable. They are called tilting ramps. You can always choose between ramps that, when it is closed, form a watertight hatch and ramps without sealing. 

RORO ship design

  • Shell door-

The ro-ro ships have a range of standard doors, such as bunker doors and pilot doors, with many choices of frames. Framed doors can also be welded as complete units straight into the hull. It will save installation time.

  • Ramp cover-

The ramp cover is a flap over a fixed ramp. It fulfills the exact necessities for load carrying capacity and tension as the surrounding stationary deck. We can use two options side-hinged or end-hinged ramp covers. The side-hinged ramp cover provides the best solution when a long ramp is required. The ramp cover is usually operated through a direct-acting cylinder, but a jigger-winch operation can also be used. 

  • Front door –

When the ship has a fixed ramp or a non-tight hoistable ramp to the weather, a weathertight door is needed to secure the damages from bad weather.

  • Internal access ramp –

Internal access ramps are installed with the hoist-able car deck to form an essential part of the deck surface. They are lifted with a load of cars and secured in the raised position by locking bolts.

  • Hoist -able car decks-

These decks are into sections that can be individually employed—some request two levels of hoist-able deck panels. Working or stowed positions can be secured depending on the cargo mixture. If the ship is a mixture of cargo handling onboard, shortsea RoRo vessels call for regular adjustment of the car deck. The natural choice is therefore computerized hydraulic or electric operation.

  • Hydraulic power pack-

It Supplies oil flow and hydraulic pressure to all equipment installed onboard. It has piston pumps connected to a standard supply line and pumps for oil cooling and filtration. 

These are the main parts of a Ro-Ro ship design.

If you wonder about the RORO ship speed, remember that a ro-ro ship can reach around 20 knots or even 24 knots for ferries.

Also, the car career ship capacity is another primary concern. The largest RORO ship, Hoegh Autoliners, six Horizon class vessels have 8500. The car career RORO Auriga Leader has a total of 6200 carsroro car shipping is the top job.

Ro-Ro ship types 

Also, according to your experience, different ships are used for this task. Below are some of the details. 

  • Ro-RoRo containers

RoRo vessels that have the features of both a traditional container vessel and a RoRo ship are called ConRo. These vessels’ interiors are designed so that both of their loads are equally distributed and balanced. The maximum load that this vessel can carry would be between 20,000 and over 50,000 deadweight tons (DWT).

  • RORO cargo

These are the ships designed to carry the wheeled cargo. As mentioned, cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, buses, trailers, and railroad cars are some of the wheeled cargo transported through RO-RO cargo ships.

  • Ro-RORO Ferries

The specialty of the RO-RO ferry is that the vehicles that are to be transported can quickly drive into the ferry. It makes it easy to load the wheeled cargo.

  • Military RORO –

In RORO transport, we also get the military Ro-ro. These serve the same purpose as the others but mainly for military purposes.

  • Pure Car carriers

These ships have a framework like a box, with the ramps to load and unload the cargo. The pure car carrier transports only cars, but PCTC is used to transport all types of vehicles.

  • ROPAXROPAX is a term for the roll-on/roll-off of a passenger. It is a ro-ro vessel explicitly built for freight vehicle transport and passenger accommodation. 
  • Rolo

Rolo is the term used for roll-on lift-off vessels. It is a hybrid ship type with ramps serving vehicle decks. But the other cargo decks are reachable only by crane.

  • Conroe RO

The ConRo vessel is a hybrid version between a ro-ro and a container ship. This kind of vessel uses the area below the decks for vehicle storage while stacking containerized freight on the top of the decks.

Roll-on roll-off shipping companies

According to our experience, we have listed several world-renowned companies that work on RO-RO shipping. 

Wallenius Wilhelmsen, based in Norway, owns the giant RO Ro ship. It is one of the best vessels, with a deck span of over 50,000 sq m and 31,300 sq m. Also, it has a large cargo storage area. The rest of the vessel has the living quarters of the 37 crew members. It also has an office, a meeting room, and an emergency evacuation area with a lifeboat. Also, MV Tønsberg of this company is known as the largest RORO ship.

CLdn Group is a prominent RORO ships operating company in Continental Europe based in Luxembourg. MV Celine is one of the giant short-sea ro-ro ships this company owns. The boat has five decks with two main ramps to accommodate cars and lorries. Three tiers are used for storing trucks. It combines the massive size of deep-sea ships and the swift movement of ferries. The specialty is that it has a two-stroke engine offering high efficiency and low carbon emissions.

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd is the proud owner of the Ro-ro ship-Century Highway Green. This car carrier is presently sailing under the flag of Japan. Its carrying capacity is 16844 tonnes DWT, and the current drought is estimated to be 9 m. Century Highway Green can transport 7080 cars at once. Her gross weight is 73515 tonnes, and its fuel tank can hold 2440 m3 of LNG. 

American Roll-On-Roll-Off Carrier is a US-based RoRo company that owns a commercial fleet of 11 RoRo vessels. ARC endurance is one of its most giant vessels.

Grimaldi Shipping Company owns the Eco Livorno, known as the world’s most significant and most environmentally sustainable ro-ro ship.

Roro car shipping rates

RORO shipping is one of the cost-effective options in shipping vehicles to the destination of your interest. Usually, the cost will be between $800 to $2000. Most agents will provide you with the terminal handling charges. These costs include the terminal handling charges, port fees, cargo dues, and customs clearance fees. It would help if you always had this in mind when deciding the cost of your shipment. Also, remember that these charges will differ from port to port. The factors like the size of the vehicle, weight, and the set fee also affect.

car shipping rates

The standard formula is straightforward. Roll on Roll off Shipping charges is charged on several facts: Cubic meters (CBM) – CBM, which is the volume of your shipment. It can be decided with the following formula: Length x Width x Height = Cubic meter (m3) (typically calculated to the nearest centimeter)

The bunker adjustment changes and the freight rates, fuel charges, and inflation rates have a big part in determining the cost. RORO shipping calculator is one of the applications that can be used to get an idea about the rough cost of your shipment. Different websites offer this facility, and you may select one of the most reputed ones.

The ro-ro ship loading procedure

Typically, in ro-ro vessel operations, these vessels follow a very detailed process in loading the wheeled cargo. It depends on the types of shipment or the vehicles you ship. 

RoRo ships allow your load to roll on and off the vessel, opposite to being lifted onboard using cranes. Automotive products, such as cars and tractors, move on and off the ship on their wheels. Products that are not automotive are placed on handling equipment movable in the terminal to be rolled on and off the boat. And they will remain on the handling equipment for the entire sea voyage.

Loading and discharge are done via a wide stern ramp. The ramp capacity on the vessels differs and can be up to 500 tonnes. Some RoRo carriers have ramp capacities of around 150 tonnes. Shipping your products through RoRo is a secure and efficient process as less lifting is required and loading is not weather-dependent. It is the standard RORO vessel loading procedure. But make sure that the ro-ro ship general arrangement is suitable to allocate your vehicle and that it will be delivered safely to the needed destination.

Roro ship schedule

Dear readers, if you wish to ship any goods or get anything through RORO shipping, check the schedules with your shipping partner. The current situations of the world and the respective ports that it will pass and the inflation rates and crises will finely have a big part to play in getting the shipment delivered on time. So according to our experience, it is always better to get the service of a well-reputed shipping company. Alsororo tracking is essential once you ship your goods. You can always keep track of the vessel through RORO tracking websites.

RORO ship vs. container car shipping

When we think about shipping vehicles internationally, we always face a doubt about the best method. So we thought it would be better to compare the RORO and the container shipping so that you readers can get a grip of what is the best way.

RORO vs. container car shipping

  • Process

The most fundamental difference between RO/RO and container shipping is their way of loading, unloading, and transporting vehicles.

When shipping through the RO/RO (roll-on/roll-off) method, the cars are driven into the ship using a platform. They can move it directly onto vessels explicitly designed for this purpose. Cargo is unloaded at the destination port on their wheels.

As the name explains, container shipping involves delivering goods via a shipping container. The cargo is usually loaded into the container and then loaded onto the ship by crane. There are two ways of container shipping: Full Container Load (FCL) and Consolidated Container Shipping. If you book the whole container, you need to use the entire space to load your goods. But the second method allows you to share the area with other shippers in the second option.

  • Arrival and Departure Dates

Arrival and departure dates are made with the RO/RO method because the vessels typically follow a fixed schedule. Container shipping doesn’t guarantee a shipping schedule. It can be a problem if you need your vehicle to be shipped on or by a specific date.

  • Personal Belongings

If you choose to ship your vehicle via RO/RO, you’ll have to take away all personal belongings. But with container shipping, you can send your items like spare tires, repair tools, and other accessories along with the vehicle. But this depends on the container size; you can ship furniture too.

  • Type of Vehicles Shipped

Another main difference is the type of vehicle you can ship through each method. Apart from regular cars and motorcycles, RO/RO vessels are designed to transport heavy-duty vehicles, like trucks and buses, too big to be loaded into containers.

For example, if you’re sending a sedan, it can easily be stored inside a container, but RO/RO is the best option for shipping a boat.

  • Safety

Typically, Container shipping is a safer way to move your car overseas as it’s well steadied inside a sealed container which protects it from sun, storms, and dust. It also vastly reduces the chance of damage during transit.

Unlike container shipping in the RO/RO shipping, your car is parked on open decks and can be damaged by getting exposed to harsh weather.

  • Number of Vehicles

You can ship two mid-size cars in a 20-foot container and four mid-size cars in a 40-foot container according to the container capacity. So, to send more vehicles, you need more containers.

But the advantage of the RO/RO method is that you can move many vehicles at once. Modern, making it the preferred choice of car manufacturers that carry products in bulk.

Container shipping is usually the best option for shipping small orders, like three to four cars.

  • Time Frame

RO/RO shipping is faster than container shipping. The vehicles leave for their destination country on the next available ship. But a container has to wait to be packed inside a container and then loaded with the help of a crane.

Also, if you choose a tight container, you will have to wait to fill the remaining space in the container before it’s shipped.

  • Reach

One disadvantage of RORO is that not all countries offer the deep-water berthing facilities needed for big oceangoing RO/RO vessels. It limits the reach of this method. So, if your destination country doesn’t have a port that supports RO/RO vessels, do not choose this method.

If you have the necessary documents and follow shipping rules and regulations, container shipping can be used to move vehicles to all the ports worldwide.

FAQs about the RORO shipping

  • What does roro mean in shipping?

RoRo is shorted form for Roll-on, Roll-off. It describes how products are loaded and unloaded from a vessel.

  • Why is roro important?

The main advantages of ro-ro freight transport are speed and time-saving. Vehicles that can be directly driven into the ship or land through the ramps make the loading and unloading process quicker and more efficient.

  • Is RORO shipping safe?

Although RoRo shipping is mentioned as the more affordable and convenient, it risks vehicle safety. The main reasons for this are the loading/unloading procedures, during which accidents can happen, and the vehicles can get damaged due to adverse climate. 

  • What is the speed of roro in a ship?

The speed of a RORO ship is around 20 knots and even 24 knots for ferries. It also falls into this category in a broader sense.

  • How does the RORO shipping work?

Automotive products, such as cars and tractors, roll on and off the vessel on their wheels. Vehicles or products that are not self-propelled are placed on handling equipment with wheels in the terminal and rolled on and off the ship. They will remain on the handling equipment for the entire sea voyage.

  • What is the largest RORO ship in the world?

The world’s largest roll-on / roll-off vessel, MV Tønsberg, is the first of four Mark V class Ro-Ro vessels of the Norwegian shipping company Wilh. Wilhelmsen. 

  • Is roro cheaper than container ship?

RoRo shipping is considered the most affordable shipping method. It’s cheaper to transport a car to a port that’s not nearest to the vehicle location than to Ship it from the port closest to the vehicle location, where container shipping is the only method.

  • What are roro ship ports?

Below is a list of RORO ports

Countries Roll-On/Roll-Off Ports
Australia Adelaide Brisbane Fremantle Melbourne Sydney  
Canada Halifax Montreal Toronto Vancouver    
Canary Island Tenerife Gran Canaria        
East Africa Dar Es Saleem Djibouti Maputo Mombassa    
Indian Sub Continent Chennai Chittagong Karachi Mumbai    
Israel Ashdod          
Mediterranean Izmir Limassol Malta Mersin Piraeus Valencia
New Zealand Auckland Lyttleton Wellington      
North Africa Alexandria Casablanca        
USA (East Coast) Baltimore Charleston Jacksonville New York Norfolkk Portsmouth
USA (Other) Galvestonn Port Hueneme Tacoma      


So dear readers, we hope that this article helps you understand what RORO shipping is and how to deal with the proceedings. We wish to meet you again with some more exciting topics on different aspects of shipping!

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