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Which Is Cheaper: RoRo or Container?

What's in this article?
  1. What Is Roro Shipping?
  2. What Is Container Shipping?
  3. Roro Vs Container Shipping The Differences
  4. Differences In Costs
  5. Size And Weight Restrictions
  6. Security And Protection
  7. Container And Roro Shipping Times
  8. Which Is Cheaper Roro Or Container Shipping?
  9. Wrapping Up
Which Is Cheaper: RoRo or Container?

Are you looking to ship large volumes of goods overseas? You may be wondering: should I use RoRo Shipping or container shipping?

At first glance, these two shipping options can seem the same. But a few critical differences between them will affect your shipping costs. To select the best choice for your specific needs, you must carefully calculate each cost.

With our years of experience in the import-export industry, we're here to help you choose between RoRo and container shipping. Let's compare the two to make a good decision fitting your budget.

What Is RoRo Shipping?

'RoRo' sounds like a toy, but it's not one at all. The term refers to "roll-on roll-off," a method of transportation increasingly popular for shipping cars and other commodities.

A RoRo service is also suitable for non-standard vehicles: agricultural utilities, boats, yachts, SUVs, and trailer homes.

This shipping process works by having the cars towed or driven directly onto the ship at the loading port. The vessel then acts like a huge car park filled with vehicles, offering a simple, uncomplicated, and economical way to transport products across international waters.

It is important to consider all fees when selecting RoRo service as your form of transportation. Charges are usually required for container packing, flat rack loading, crating, and port delivery fees.

It's also worth noting that extra packaging costs will also be payable to export warehouses. All such expenses should be taken into consideration when selecting this particular option. However, it can still be less costly than air freight or shipping containers.


What Is Container Shipping?

Container shipping is an ideal option when it comes to shipping vehicles that are luxury or expensive. The process starts with the car being placed inside a container, preventing any damage during transit.

To ensure the vehicle remains in place for its journey, ratchet, nylon, or chock straps are used to keep it secured, along with wooden braces at each tire. Furthermore, compared to the RoRo service, this method covers more global routes making it efficient yet secure simultaneously.

Despite being a tedious and lengthier process than the regular shipment methods, container shipping stands out due to its flexibility. It provides a great solution to those looking forward to safely transporting their cars, whether it's a powerful exotic sports car or your daily work van.

Additionally, port workers will carefully handle your car, ensuring maximum safety during loading and unloading and checking for all necessary safety measures up until delivery.

All in all, when you're looking for reliable quality assurance for your valuable investments, look no further than container shipping.

RoRo vs. Container Shipping: The Differences

The differences between RoRo and container shipping can be decisive when weighing your shipping options.

Below, we'll look further at the differences so that you can be informed when choosing which method your freight should travel by.

Differences in costs

RoRo shipping is considered the most economical method of ocean freight transportation.

Shipping a standard-size vehicle, for example, from the USA to Belgium via RoRo, costs around $900. In comparison, the same shipment via container shipping can range between $900 to $2,000, depending on several factors.

Transportation of cargo with RoRo vessels is generally straightforward and efficient. All that's required is rolling cargo onto frames or ramps that are then loaded directly onto vessels.

On the other hand, shipping goods by containers requires extra handling and packing before they can be loaded onto the vessel.

The type of transportation method chosen and its associated costs ultimately depend on the goods being shipped and their destination.

Factors such as freight charges, supply chain strategy, location of landside services, speed and timing requirements, and cargo load ability affect how much it will cost to move cars from destination ports to arrival ports.

Container shipping vessels usually have more capacity for items than RoRo ones, so if anyone needs to transport overseas, it is more cost-effective in terms of economies of scale to use container shipping rather than RoRo.


Size and weight restrictions

Each method comes with size and weight limitations. RoRo shipping is best suited for large vehicles, boats, and heavy machinery. These items must be able to drive or roll onto the ship with their own power.

Container shipping is better suited for smaller items in a standard-sized container. The size and weight of the goods must also fit within the container size restrictions.

Security and protection

Loading and unloading vehicles can be risky, especially on Roll On Roll Off ships. This is because the risk of damaging the car during this process increases proportionally to the amount of handling it receives, making RORO shipment inherently more dangerous than container shipping.

Not only does RORO require driver assistance for loading and unloading off the ship, accidents often occur in these cases due to human error, putting cars at greater risk of incurring damages.

As vehicles sit exposed in port waiting to be transported, they are also more vulnerable to theft and vandalism while not protected inside a sealed container.

On the other hand, with container shipping, vehicles remain safe inside a sealed container from vessel arrival until departure, protected from any possible human interference and harsh weather conditions.

Cranes can then be used for loading and unloading, minimizing potential risks relating to shipping damage. Hence, cars are much better protected against experiencing any harm throughout their journey by sea, compared with traveling onboard via RoRo vessels.


Container and RoRo shipping times

When it comes to shipping a vehicle, speed and reliability are critical. And when comparing different types of shipping services, RoRo (roll-on/roll-off) is the best choice when it comes to departure and arrival dates.

RoRo departs on specific scheduled dates, providing shippers with reliable departure times for their cargo. Additionally, the estimated arrival times are fairly accurate, and delays are rare due to the ship's limited number of stops.

This relatively accurate estimate makes it easier for customers to plan their activities accordingly without any disruption in plans caused by unexpected delays or other unplanned occurrences.

Another advantage of choosing RoRo over container shipping is that the turnaround time from loading to unloading is much shorter with RoRo ships, which means shorter transit times overall and faster delivery window expectations.

Furthermore, most RoRo vessels have less environmental footprint than container ships since they utilize a direct voyage with partial loads, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions significantly.

As a result, shippers can rest assured knowing that their shipment will arrive within its intended timeframe, with minimal emissions to harm the environment.

Which Is Cheaper: RoRo or Container Shipping?

RoRo shipping rates are an affordable way to transport your vehicle, especially compared to single-container shipping. On average, the cost is much lower than consolidated containers since a smaller quantity of vehicles can be fit into the container.

Depending on the size of the car and its destination, RoRo shipping offers some degree of flexibility for those on a budget. For example, depending on where you're sending your vehicle, a small car could cost as little as $750 for RoRo transportation.

But consolidating several cars into one shared container is often cheaper than using just one sole container when it comes to larger or more expensive vehicles.

Consolidated containers save money because many other vehicles can fit inside them, and each customer pays a share of that one unified price tag.

However, if they're particularly valuable or classic cars, sometimes paying extra for solitary containers might be worth it.

In this case, customers have added protection against potential damage or theft due to their vehicle only being alone in one slot in the ship's hold rather than amongst dozens of others in a consolidated container.


Wrapping Up

Between container shipping and RoRo shipping, the latter can be the cheaper option of the two. But factors such as cargo size and weight play a role in deciding which shipping method to use.

Container shipping may be good for large shipments and overly complex freight, while RoRo provides the flexibility and affordability that may be perfectly suited to certain transportation needs.

So when it comes time to choose between RoRo or container shipping, evaluate each option carefully according to your unique needs for a successful—and cheap—shipping experience.

A1-Auto Transport makes the transport of cars accessible. We offer an instant quote to compare rates and pick a specific service that fits your budget.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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