The Ultimate Guide to RoRo Shipping for Businesses in 2024: Navigate the Seas with Confidence

In today’s dynamic global trade world, businesses are always looking for efficient and cost-effective ways to move their cargo across oceans. RoRo (Roll-on/Roll-off) shipping stands out as a strong option, offering unique benefits for specific cargo types and routes.

Whether you’re a experienced freight forwarder or new to shipping, this  guide gives you all the information you need about Ro Ro shipping in 2024.

yellow tractor pulls into a RoRo ship

What is RoRo?

RoRo shipping, or Roll-on/Roll-off shipping, is a method where vehicles drive directly onto and off the ship on their own wheels. This eliminates the need for cranes and containers. This method is not only faster but often more
cost-effective, especially for heavy machinery and vehicles. Moreover, it’s suitable for various types of cargo, including cars, trucks, trailers, construction equipment, and recreational vehicles. Ro Ro offers such advantages as cost efficiency, speed, versatility, and simplicity in logistics.

Key Advantages of RoRo Shipping:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Firstly, Ro Ro shipping is often cheaper than container shipping for oversized cargo or large vehicle fleets. You only pay for the space your cargo takes up, not for a whole container.
  • Efficiency: Moreover, it have faster loading and unloading times than container ships. So this minimises port delays and speeds up delivery.
  • Flexibility: Additionally, it can handle more than just vehicles. It’s suitable for construction equipment, agricultural machinery, and even entire houses!
  • Direct Delivery: Lastly, with RoRo shipping, you avoid the need for container stuffing and de-stuffing. This reduces handling costs and the risk of damage.

Limitations to Consider:

  • Route availability: RoRo services are not as extensive as container shipping, with specific routes and schedules.
  • Transit times: While faster loading/unloading, overall voyage times can be longer than container ships due to port limitations and specialised routes.
  • Cargo restrictions: RoRo shipping has height and weight limitations. Some hazardous materials may not be accepted.
  • Cargo type limitation:

    RoRo shipping is primarily for wheeled or towable cargo. This means it’s not suitable for freight that can’t be driven or towed onto the ship. So for goods and equipment that need cranes or containers for loading, RoRo shipping is not an option.

Is RoRo or Container Cheaper?

Generally, Ro Ro shipping is usually cheaper for moving vehicles and heavy equipment because of lower handling and loading costs. However, the total cost can vary based on several factors:

  • Cargo type and size: Firstly, RoRo excels for oversized cargo or large vehicle fleets.
  • Route and distance: Secondly, analyse specific route costs and transit times for both options.
  • Volume requirements: Lastly, container
    shipping might be more cost-effective for smaller cargo volumes.

Booking a RoRo Vessel

Booking a RoRo vessel involves selecting a reputable freight forwarder or shipping company that offers RoRo services. This process typically includes providing details about the cargo, desired shipping dates, and destination ports. Many companies, such as AES Inc, TSL Australia, and Genfreight Global Logistics, offer online quotes and booking capabilities, streamlining the process for businesses. 

What is the difference between a car carrier and a RoRo ship?

The main difference between a car carrier and a RoRo ship is in their design and use. Both types of ships transport vehicles, but they do so in different ways:

  • Car Carrier: This ship is made specifically for transporting passenger cars. It has multiple decks to hold many cars at once.
  • RoRo Ship: This ship can carry a wider variety of cargo, including heavy machinery and oversized items. It has open decks and ramps, making it flexible for different types of loads.

Navigating the RoRo Landscape:

Types of RoRo Ships:

  • Pure Car Carriers (PCCs): Designed primarily for vehicles, offering multiple decks and efficient loading/unloading.
  • Multipurpose RoRo (MPRoRo): Accommodate both vehicles and containerized cargo, providing greater flexibility.
  • Trailer Ships: Specialised for carrying truck trailers, offering efficient on-road and maritime transport.

Key RoRo Routes:

  • Transatlantic: Linking North America and Europe, crucial for car exports and machinery shipment.
  • Transpacific: Connecting Asia and the Americas, a booming market for car exports and heavy equipment.
  • Intra-regional: Short-sea routes within regions like Europe, Asia, and Australia, ideal for fast and efficient vehicle movement.

Key RoRo Carriers Serving Australia:

Machinery pulls into the RoRo ship

Navigating the world of RoRo carriers can feel like charting a new course. When it comes to Australia, several key players consistently provide reliable and efficient services:

Höegh Autoliners: A global leader in Ro Ro shipping, offering regular services between Australia and Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen: Renowned for their large fleet of Pure Car Carriers (PCCs), catering specifically to vehicle shipments on major Australian routes.

Grimaldi Group: Operating both RoRo and container ships, they offer comprehensive coverage across Asia-Pacific routes, ideal for diverse cargo needs.

EUKOR Car Carriers: Specialising in Ro Ro and short-sea services, they cater to intra-regional movement within Australia and neighboring countries.

ANL: As Australia’s national container shipping line, they also offer dedicated RoRo services on select routes, particularly within Asia.

ACL/Grimaldi: This joint venture provides dedicated RoRo services between Asia and Australasia, including Australia.

K-Line: Renowned for their expertise in car carrier shipments, offering services between Australia, Asia, and the Americas.

MOL: A global shipping giant with dedicated RoRo capabilities, servicing select routes to and from Australia.

NYK: This leading Japanese shipping line offers RoRo services on certain routes connecting Australia with Asia and other regions.

Sallaum Lines: Primarily catering to the Middle East and Red Sea region, they offer specialised RoRo services for specific Australian requirements.

With such a diverse range of RoRo carriers serving Australia, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. At Genfreight, we simplify this process for you. We have strong relationships with all the major RoRo carriers. This extensive network allows us to navigate changes quickly, ensuring you get the best service possible.

Optimising Your RoRo Shipment:

  • Plan ahead: Book well in advance due to limited vessel availability and specific route schedules.
  • Precise measurements: Ensure your cargo dimensions and weight comply with vessel specifications.
  • Documentation diligence: Prepare accurate and complete paperwork to avoid delays at customs.
  • Partner with a reliable RoRo provider: Choose an experienced freight forwarder like Genfreight with expertise in navigating RoRo complexities and securing optimal routes and rates.

Australian RoRo Landscape: A Booming Opportunity



Australia has a strong automotive industry and a rising need for oversized cargo transportation. This makes it a great market for  Roll-on/Roll-off shipping. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, RoRo cargo tonnage increased by 15% in the past year. This growth shows the increasing importance of RoRo shipping in Australia.

Genfreight: Your Trusted RoRo Partner

At Genfreight, we understand the intricacies of RoRo shipping and its unique advantages for businesses. Our team of experienced professionals leverages global partnerships and expertise to:


  • Analyse your specific needs and recommend the most cost-effective RoRo solution.
  • Negotiate competitive rates and secure optimal vessel space.
  • Handle all documentation and customs clearance seamlessly.
  • Provide real-time tracking and communication throughout your shipment journey.

Ready to explore the possibilities of RoRo shipping?

 Contact GenFreight today for a free consultation and unlock a world of efficient and cost-effective cargo movement across the seas.