Roro Vs Container Shipping

If you’re shipping a vehicle from Japan, you have two main options: Roll-on/Roll-off shipping (RoRo) and container shipping. In most cases, RoRo is the most affordable and convenient shipping method compared to container shipping. However, if you’re looking for a more secure option to ship your vehicle with other belongings together, a container may be better suited to your needs.

What is (RoRo) Roll On Roll Off?

If you are looking to transport an automobile overseas via RORO Shipment, you have two options for delivery:

  1. You can deliver the vehicle yourself directly to the departure port terminal
  2. Have a domestic transporter pickup the car from your residence and deliver to the departure port terminal

In both cases, the vehicle will not get a inspection report done. With RoRo, the port authorities do not not issue one. This is because they are only responsible for loading and bracing the vehicle in the boat.

Because of this, vehicles being shipped using roll on roll off can only be insured for total loss, since there is no way to determine if there was damage prior to departure.

What is container shipping?

When you ship your vehicle in a container, the car is stored in an open or closed container.

The cheapest method here is to consolidate your car with other vehicles bound for the same destination. Or, you can use an exclusive container, which can fit your vehicle and other belongings or furnitures if needed.

If you are moving overseas and have extra items to transport, container shipping is an ideal way to ship your car and personal effects all at once.

RoRo vs. Container Shipping: Basic differences

Most shipping companies providing Roll-on/Roll-off shipping also provide Container Shipping and vice versa. To ship your vehicle with RoRo, it needs to be in running condition because it has to be driven onto the ship and also off of it.

With container shipping, the vehicle is stored in an open or closed container which is placed onto the ship. The vehicle doesn’t have to be in running condition to be shipped via container.

No personal belongings with RoRo

With RoRo shipping, the car owner is not allowed to ship their personal belongings along with the car. By contrast, container shipping allows for spare tires and other items to be shipped along with the car. Depending on the size of the container, the customer can also ship their furniture along with the vehicle.

Fixed arrival and departure dates

RoRo shipping also guarantees reliable departure and arrival dates, which is not the case with container shipping. All things considered, RoRo is a better option if you meet the following criteria:

  • you need your vehicle to arrive faster
  • your vehicle is in running condition
  • you aren’t shipping personal items with the vehicles.

RoRo vs. Container Shipping: Difference in costs

As mentioned earlier, RoRo shipping is typically the least expensive shipping method to ship one vehicle, even when compared with different container shipping methods.

What is the Best Way to Ship a Car Overseas?

When you factor in all of the tradeoffs between the two vehicle shipping methods including security, conditions, rates, time frames and departures, Export companies always suggest clients transporting their vehicles via container.

There are two sizes as options, 20ft and 40ft containers, however export companies consolidate the majority of vehicles into a 40ft container. This shared container service is what makes this method competitive and offers you a cost effective solution for shipping vehicles around the world.

We can usually load up to 6 cars in a 40ft high cube container.

Obviously it all depends on the Make / Model and size of the cargo on hand, that determines what is in the next container to a specific destination.

For bigger vehicles like trucks and SUVs, it may be a two pack or three pack.

This is why we have the additional tariff charges on our rate sheet, so that if we end up with one large SUV, one medium size car and a small car, we can still make the container viable.

Shipping RoRo as an Alternative

RoRo, (Roll on – Roll off) is an alternative service option, that we have access to for cars that wish to ship to destinations that are not frequented by our container services.

We can also revert to this service if the client insists that this is the way they want to ship their vehicle, or if we have an issue consolidating to a specific destination and the time frame gets too far out for the client, we can offer RoRo instead.

We always recommend a container service and do not sell RoRo as our primary option. Though some shipments are only possible to complete through RoRo shipping such as super large vehicles. Vehicles larger than a 40 ft container only ship through RoRo, and in this case it is the only service to choose.

Shipping a Car: Container vs RoRo Cheat Sheet

Consolidation Shipping Summary:

  • We receive all vehicles into the same warehouse, where we inspect and photograph each one for our records.
  • The vehicles stay indoor at our warehouse until they are ready to ship
  • We load multiple vehicles into one container, using wood ramps and mezzanines to divide the container into sections to hold all vehicles in place during shipping.
  • The chances of damage during transit is normally much less than RoRo
  • We have control over the handling of the cars and the loading
  • We seal the container and deliver to the port for loading onto the vessel

Roll on Roll off (RoRo) Shipping Summary:

  • Client delivers the car to a terminal at the port of loading, or we have it delivered by a domestic carrier.
  • The terminal receives the car with no inspection report
  • No photographs unless arranged with the client or driver
  • The car is stored outdoor at the terminal prior to loading
  • Union workers at the port drive the car into the hull of the car carrier vessel
  • It is braced into position for the transit
  • The client collects his car upon arrival at the destination port.
  • Destination fees for RoRo are less than those for shared container.

More RoRo Shipping and Container Shipping Info

If you would like to request a rate to ship your car or have any additional questions regarding these two services please don’t hesitate to contact us at