If you are thinking about shipping heavy equipment internationally, RORO (Roll-On, Roll-Off) shipping may be the best option for you. Compared to other methods of ocean freight shipping, RORO has a number of key benefits including enhanced speed and convenience.
But if you’ve never shipped a piece of heavy machinery using RORO shipping before, you may have some questions about the process and what to expect. In this guide from A-1 Auto Transport, we’ll discuss the basics, and help you learn everything that you need to know about heavy equipment and RORO shipping.
What Is RORO Shipping? Understanding The Basics
RORO shipping is short for “Roll-On, Roll-Off” shipping. As the name implies, in this type of shipping, your equipment “rolls on” to the cargo ship when it’s initially shipped, and “rolls off” when it arrives at the destination port. Basically, your equipment will be driven directly into the cargo carrier using a ramp, and offloaded in the same manner.
This is in contrast to other methods of shipping like LOLO (Lift-On, Lift-Off) shipping, which uses cranes to load and unload cargo, usually in the form of standardized cargo containers. With RORO shipping, your vehicle or equipment can be loaded quickly and easily, since it can simply be driven up the ramp and into the cargo hold of the ship, where it will be secured for transport.
Even heavy equipment and machinery that is not self-propelled – such as flat-bed trailers or grain carts – can be loaded using RORO shipping. They will simply be towed into position with a tractor or a truck, and then secured for shipping.
However, it’s important to note that many shipping companies will not accept heavy equipment that is not operational. For example, a heavy-duty diesel truck or crane that is not currently running due to engine issues or electrical problems may not be shippable with RORO shipping.
Policies vary by carrier, so if you want to ship non-functional and non-operational equipment, consult with your RORO carrier to see if they will accept the shipment.
What Are The Benefits Of RORO Shipping For Heavy Equipment?
Choosing RORO shipping for heavy equipment has a number of benefits, including faster overall transportation speed, a streamlined shipping preparation process, and enhanced convenience, since your equipment will not need to be disassembled to fit into one or more cargo containers. Let’s take a deeper look at these benefits now.
- Faster shipping speed – Cars, trucks, and heavy equipment can simply be driven directly into a RORO ship at your home port, and then driven off the ship at the destination port. There is no need to wait days for cargo containers to be unloaded and cataloged – you can usually access your heavy equipment as soon as the container ship makes port and begins the unloading process.
- Simpler shipping preparation process – You do not need to take as many steps to prepare your heavy equipment for shipping, and you can usually leave some fuel in the tank and leave the battery connected if the vehicle will be driven on and off the ship using its own power.
- Enhanced convenience – Your vehicle can remain completely intact during shipping, with no need to remove any components to fit it into a cargo container. It will be fully operational as soon as it’s shipped to your destination, allowing you to benefit from enhanced convenience – and get it to your worksite and begin operations right away.
For all of these reasons, heavy equipment RORO shipping is typically the best option if you need to ship heavy machinery to another country, and you want to ship it in a cost-effective, convenient manner.
How Long Does It Take To Send Heavy Equipment With RORO Shipping?
The transit time for sending heavy equipment with RORO shipping can vary quite a bit. If you’re sending a piece of machinery from the USA to Canada, for example, your equipment may arrive within just two weeks or less. In contrast, sending equipment to Europe from the US may take anywhere from 3-5 weeks or longer.
After you contact a RORO shipping company for a quote for the delivery of your heavy equipment, they will give you a detailed overview of the time it will take for your machinery to arrive.
The time it takes to send your equipment depends on the destination you choose, the number of stops the RORO ship is making (if any) before it reaches your destination port, and a number of other factors. You’ll also need to consider the time it takes to clear customs when planning your shipment.
How Do I Prepare My Heavy Equipment For RORO Shipping?
You should clean out the interior of the machinery and remove any personal items or loose items. Any alarm systems, if present, should be disconnected. This is also a good time to check things like tire pressure (if applicable), look for leaks, and check on the overall maintenance status of your vehicle.
The fuel tank must usually be about ¼ full to ensure there is enough fuel to load and unload your vehicle in RORO shipping. Batteries can remain connected until your vehicle is loaded – though the freight company may choose to disconnect them in transit and reconnect them when your vehicle reaches its destination.
How Do I Send Heavy Equipment To Port For RORO Shipping?
Depending on your carrier, you have a few options. Some ocean freight carriers offer transportation to port as part of their services packages. If your carrier does not, you can hire a specialized heavy equipment transportation company to move your equipment by rail and/or truck, depending on your destination port. Or, if you have your own flatbeds and shipping equipment, you can handle the shipping process on your own.
Get Help With RORO Shipping – Contact A-1 Auto Transport Now
At A-1 Auto Transport, we make it easy to ship your heavy equipment anywhere in the world. We work with the most reputable freight companies in America, and can help you secure heavy equipment RORO shipping services for your equipment. Contact us online or give us a call at (800) 452-2880 to learn more and get started.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.