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Whether you’re looking to ship a vehicle overseas or you’re just curious about the ways that cars are typically shipped to different countries and continents, you may be wondering what a car transport vessel is, and how it works. Let’s discuss RoRo ships, how they work, why they’re used, and everything else you need to know about car transport vessels now.
A car transport vessel is usually known as a “RoRo” ship or vessel. RoRo stands for Roll On, Roll Off. This term is used because this is how the vehicles are loaded onto the ship. RoRo ships have large internal holds that look like parking garages – and vehicles are simply driven or “rolled” onto the ship at their departure point, then driven or “rolled” off when they arrive at the destination.
The first dedicated car transport vessels were used in the early 1960s, with the first cargo ships built only for car transportation coming into use in the late 1970s. Today, RoRo shipping is the most widely-used transport method for wheeled vehicles.
This includes not only cars, but also trucks, semi-trucks, heavy duty wheeled and tracked construction equipment, utility vehicles, truck trailers, agricultural equipment, and anything else that can be driven or towed on-board and will fit into the cargo hold of a RoRo vessel.
Car transport vessels are more efficient and less expensive to use than cargo container ships for shipping vehicles, in most cases. They also usually offer faster delivery times, as vehicles can be unloaded more quickly by driving them off the ship compared to hauling containers off of a ship using a crane.
This depends on the distance of the shipment. Shipping a car from New York City to Miami, FL, for example, may take 14 days or less – but shipping a car from San Francisco to Hong Kong will take much longer, up to 4 weeks. It may also take longer if the vessel will be stopping to drop off shipments at multiple ports.
Just like other methods of ocean-going freight, RoRo shipping is not extremely fast, so you will need to do some preparation and planning to make sure your car arrives at its destination when you need it.
Yes. Standard 20-foot and 40-foot cargo containers can hold most cars, and can be equipped with straps and tie-downs to keep your car safe while shipping. Shipping cars by container is more common for people who are permanently moving to a new country, since household goods can also be shipped in the same container.
However, if you’re only moving a car, it doesn’t make as much sense to use a cargo ship and containerized shipping. It will take longer to ship your car and it may cost more money compared to using a RoRo car transport vessel.
That depends on your location. If you live near the port where your car will be shipped, you can drive it there and drop it off yourself. And if the destination port is easily accessible, you can simply pick it up there when it’s been unloaded and processed, and drive it to your destination.
However, if you are not located near either port, you may need to hire a car transport truck to pick up your car and take it to the port – or to pick it up at your destination and deliver it to your new residence.
Whether you need to use a RoRo ship to send a car internationally, or you just need to ship a car across the US, A-1 Auto Transport is here to help. We work with a large network of experienced auto transport companies, and can provide you with expert car transport services at the best rates. So don’t wait – call today, or contact us online for a quote.
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.
Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.
And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.
The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.
When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.
The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.
They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?
So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!
If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.
I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!
The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!
There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.
After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.
Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.
By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.
We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!
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