What is Ro-Ro Shipping?

Aug 23, 2023 Sophia Shkuro Sophia Shkuro

When searching for a convenient shipping service, you may encounter many aspects of logistics. The characteristics of different types of cargo are some of the key nuances that should be taken into account during transportation. Shipping cars, trucks, trailers, and static cargo placed on a platform on wheels… Will you need a container in such cases?

This guide will acquaint you with Ro-Ro transportation, which is suitable for large-wheeled cargo. All your logistics requirements can be met with enough expertise and experience. Let's get started exploring the Ro-Ro shipping industry.

What is a Ro-Ro cargo vessel?

The term Ro-Ro is derived from the expression "Roll-On/Roll-Off" and refers to deep-sea vessels designed to carry heavy cargo (possibly up to 10 tons per square meter), vehicles of any size and tonnage on a wheelbase (cars, trucks, buses, trailers, or even industrial vehicles).

Types of Ro-Ro vessels

  • Pure Car Carriers (PCC) are designed to transport cars, and Pure Car/Truck Carrier (PCTC) types are for the carriage of freight vehicles.
  • RoPax“RORO + passenger” vessels are adapted to ship, for example, private cars and commercial vehicles with passenger seating for short routes, which often results in the presence of garages on the vessels.
  • ConRO is a vessel that has the properties of "container ship + RORO". This type of vessel supports the handling of containerized cargo and mobile equipment. In practice, the inner decks are used for transport and storage, while the upper decks are used for containers.
  • RoLo is a hybrid cargo vessel. There is a possibility of roll-on and lift-off of goods during unloading. A ramp and a crane in the port are used to unload the cargo.

Among the features of a Ro-Ro vessel, we can highlight its convenient and necessary capabilities. They are equipped with built-in ramps for the transfer of wheeled cargo to and from the vessel in ports.

What is a Ro-Ro vessel used for?

Ro-Ro vessels are designed to handle huge cargo sizes. Therefore, such vessels can have up to 13 decks, which makes it possible to accommodate up to 8,000 vehicles on some Ro-Ro vessels.

The location of a vehicle onboard a Ro-Ro vessel depends on its length, height, and weight. Cars, trucks, and so on are fixed with slings.

Trade and logistics operations in many industries can rarely do without Ro-Ro services. What exactly is carried on this type of vessel?

  • Large-sized equipment for building and agriculture sectors
  • Trailers, trucks, and motorhomes
  • Heavy and oversized cargo
  • Yachts, boats, and other marine transport with a trailer
  • Such long cargo as metal structures, pipes, and others
  • Large-sized vehicles (limousines, SUVs, etc.)

How are cargoes secured during Ro-Ro shipping?

SeaRates insists on the safety of this type of transportation. Your cargo of any size will be secured with locks, tie-down straps, or chains. It is important to provide a mechanism for locking the cargo in place. It also prevents illegal access to your cargo during shipment. The security plan is also approved by the surveyor who will carry out the monitoring. After that, the following operations will be carried out: preparation of documentation and permits for the cargo, customs assistance, ship of the transportation route, and the unloading process.

Advantages of Ro-Ro shipping

  • Vehicles are easily transported by Ro-Ro vessels: in a few minutes, the vehicle enters the vessel at the port of loading, as quickly as it departs for the port of destination.
  • Shipping by Ro-Ro vessels does not involve a lot of loading and unloading operations in the port. This factor reduces the risk of injury to port personnel and damage to cargo.
  • How to reduce the delivery time of your cargo? The previous benefit also leads to the quick disembarkation of vehicles from the vessel. This way, the cars can reach the consignee or warehouse immediately.
  • Car owners often choose to carry their vehicles abroad on small Ro-Ro vessels to avoid unnecessary formalities.

Various shipping lines, including Pan Ocean, Maersk, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Hapag-Lloyd, COSCO, K-line, Hoegh, Mediterranean Shipping Company, and Mann Lines, provide Ro-Ro shipping services.

You can transport large-sized cargoes to many destinations anywhere in the world. Get the services you need at the most reliable ports of discharge around the world: Europe (Rotterdam, Oslo, Barcelona, Dusseldorf, Antwerp), USA (Los Angeles, Houston, New York, Miami), Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal), Asia (Nhava Sheva, Mumbai, Chennai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Shanghai), Africa (Lagos, Dakar, Cotonou, Libreville), Middle East (Dubai, Jebel Ali, Doha, Alexandria, Beirut, Qatar, Mersin).

The range of available ports is not exhaustive. Get in touch with SeaRates Customer Support to find the best route for your deadlines and other requirements.


The international market is already flooded with Ro-Ro shipments, which does not allow ambitious freight forwarders and carriers to lag behind this trend. Being aware of the details of logistics greatly simplifies the planning of cargo shipping operations.

Global trade and logistics parties demand expert support, which we provide in the form of comprehensive Port-to-Port or Door-to-Door shipments. The SeaRates team introduces you to essential insights and manages all delivery operations.

Feel free to contact us at logistics@searates.com to fulfill your logistics needs.

Sophia Shkuro is a content manager from Dnipro, Ukraine. Believes that the more complex a thing is, the easier it should be to write about it. Dreams of a future vacation by the sea.