RORO vs. container shipping

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Imagine you have been on the hunt for a very elusive classic vehicle. You have turned the entire US on its head, yet the gem is nowhere to be found. Then all of a sudden you spot a great deal. You are ready to get it right away when you notice it, but the car is an ocean away! Of course, you will not simply give up. You want that vehicle and you will do your best to get it. That requires you to figure out a way to ship it, of course.

Corsia Logistics transports vehicles overseas weekly.

For instance, this Lada Zhiguli traveled halfway across the globe with our help. Today, we will use our knowledge and expertise to tell you more about the different international car shipping options.

Three main international car shipping options

From the title of this article you can tell that we will mainly focus on RORO and container shipping. That being said, there is another option – air freight. We are not going to explore it much today though. As you can imagine, it is quite expensive, which makes it an unlikely pick for most people. Nevertheless, if you have a really high-end vehicle, it is definitely the fastest and safest option out there.

With the air freight option out of the way, we can focus on the other two alternatives. They are both basically freight transport by sea, which justifies the lengthier travel time and cheaper costs. However, they also have many differences between them. Understanding them better will help you decide which suits you more.

What is RORO shipping

First things first – RORO stands for “Roll On, Roll Off”. In the most basic terms, this is nothing more than just loading the vehicle on a vessel’s deck as is.

If you have ever seen a ferry loaded with cars, RORO is pretty much the same thing. Or in other words, a RORO vessel is a movable parking garage. This makes the service fairly cheap, as it does not include anything specific.

The RORO logistics are pretty simple too. You can get your vehicle to the ship by yourself, or get an auto transport company to handle it for you.

However, you should keep in mind that no one is going to inspect the car pre- or post-loading. That means only total loss insurance applies in this case unless you go out of your way to get the vehicle insured on your own.

When the car arrives at its destination, you will have to pick it up yourself or organize its transport. RORO only covers loading and unloading the vehicle when the vessel is docked.

You can see that the RORO shipping method is pretty barebones. That also makes it the cheapest option available. Before you decide to go with it though, you should understand container shipping too.

What is container shipping

As we have established already, container shipping is one of the two waterborne shipping methods. Compared to RORO it includes a few more steps during the process.

Firstly, your car has to be delivered not to the dock, but to your shipping company’s warehouse. This can be done by you or by a car transport company of your choice. Secondly, you need to decide the kind of container you want your vehicle to be shipped in.

You have two choices – a single-vehicle container or a multi-vehicle one. If you are looking for a cheaper option, the multi-vehicle container is the way to go. With it, you will share ocean freight costs, port charges and customs clearance with other people.

That being said, deliveries with this shipping method also tend to take longer. The reason is that enough people have to book up a spot on the multi-car container, which can take a while.

In light of all that, it is obvious that single-vehicle containers are better if you want faster shipping. On the other hand, that also means you have to take care of all the charges and costs for the container along the way. That makes it a premium option.

The pros and cons of each

Obviously, overseas transport is not as simple as shipping a car from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. You have to consider more variables along the way. In order to help you with this, we have compiled a quick reference list with all the pros and cons of both waterborne shipping methods.

The pros of RORO shipping:

  • It is the cheapest option available
  • It has fairly simple logistics
  • May be a suitable alternative when shipping to or from destinations where container shipping is either too expensive or not an option
  • Departure and arrival dates are usually fixed, making it more predictable

The cons of RORO shipping:

  • Your car is not insured against damages (only total loss)
  • There is no additional protection for the car (it is side by side with all other vehicles on board)
  • The vehicle is exposed to the elements before and after unloading
  • The car has to be driven by port workers in order to be loaded and unloaded
  • It is required that the car is in operable condition, otherwise, further charges will be applied, or it may not be possible to load it at all.

The pros of container shipping:

  • Your car is protected from the elements at all times
  • Dock workers will not be driving it
  • There is a much lower chance of damages during transit
  • The car can be insured for damages since it is inspected before and after transport
  • You can choose a single- or multi-car container, depending on your needs
  • The car is not required to be in operable condition

The cons of container shipping:

  • It costs more than RORO, and single-car containers are even more expensive
  • There are no fixed departure and arrival dates, due to the nature of container booking

Now you know the gist of international car shipping. Nevertheless, you may still be uncertain of which service you should pick. Perhaps you are wondering whether the extra money for container shipping is worth it. Furthermore, should you request a single-car container or not? Let us explore that in more detail below!

Which one suits you the best

Sometimes knowing a bunch of information does not mean you can make the best decision. You have to evaluate your situation properly. To do that we will look at two common overseas transport examples – shipping a daily driver vs shipping a classic car.

If you are moving to or from a different country, you may want to transport your everyday car. For many people, the value of the car is not high enough to justify the price of a single-car container. Additionally, a lot of folks prefer RORO, since it is cheaper and they do not care about damages all that much.

That being said, no one is pleased when their car arrives dinged or scratched (or worse). This is why we advise you to consider multi-car container shipping for your daily car. The difference in costs between it and RORO is not so significant to risk damages to your vehicle.

When it comes to shipping a luxury or a classic car, container transport is the only viable option. We would even say that single-car containers are the best because that way your car will not be dependent on other factors. Given the nature of such a vehicle, the increased price of that method is completely justified.

At this point, you should be able to decide between the available options. Whichever one you pick though, you also have to figure out the logistics. More on that below!

Figuring out your international car shipping situation

Choosing your international car shipping method is just one part of the equation. You have to find a way to execute it as well.

The easiest way to do it is by going with an experienced car shipping company. They will be able to walk you through everything and even consult you on your specific situation if necessary. The company will organize the entire shipping process for you – from your car’s current location right to your desired destination (even in-land).

Of course, you can also organize some things yourself. For example, you can pick one company to ship your car to the port (or container warehouse), and another to figure out overseas transport. Then you can look for a third company on the other side of the ocean to handle your car from there.

We believe that the additional headache of trying to organize everything on your own is not really worth it. It is much simpler to have one company take care of the process.

Do you need any help with international car shipping?

Transporting your car across the globe may seem like an impossible task at first. Many people even consider it easier to sell their car and buy another at their new destination. However, with a good auto transport company that is not necessary.

Here at Corsia Logistics, we are always open to helping you out with your car shipping needs. If you have any questions about international auto transport, you can contact us right away. Our staff will tell you everything you need to know, no strings attached. Whether you need to transport a rare classic or just your favorite everyday car, we are here for you!

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About the Author:

Atanas Nikolov is a creative with an affinity for psychology and science. He believes the universe is a wonderful place to explore, and no universe is greater than the one inside ourselves. He enjoys a good debate, and can always bring an alternative viewpoint to the table. He also loves reading fiction and poetry. It is highly likely that he writes some as well, but these rumors have not been proven yet.
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