Industries as diverse as power, machinery, rail and aviation have taken advantage of RoRo ocean transports capabilities of handling high, heavy and long loads. While it’s true that RoRo does transport cars, trucks and rolling equipment, some people believe that’s all RoRo is suitable for.

It’s time to dispel some of those common myths with some solid examples and success stories.

Myth one: RoRo vessels can only transport cars 

Because cars played an important role in the development of RoRo solutions, some still believe this is the primary use-case. But the modern RoRo vessel is capable of carrying a diverse mix of breakbulk.

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Cargo like cars, trucks and buses roll on and off a RoRo vessel on their own wheels. Cargo that does not have own wheels, such as breakbulk, is put on handling equipment with wheels to roll on and off the RoRo vessel.

stern rampA RoRo vessel loads cargo via a stern ramp. This secure and efficient process ensures safe handling regardless of weather conditions. The inside of a RoRo vessel functions similar to a multi-storey parking house with ramps running between the decks. The vessel decks have various heights and strengths to accommodate a diverse cargo mix. The appropriate deck is selected for each cargo depending on its weight and dimensions, and safely secured with lashing to the vessel deck.

This is why a RoRo vessel is capable of carrying such a diverse mix of cargo: from cars, trucks and large construction and agricultural machinery to heavy mining equipment, generators and locomotives, all on one vessel.

Myth two: RoRo vessels can’t handle bulky cargo 

Possibly because of RoRo’s reputation as a car-carrying service, even some experienced logistics professionals believe RoRo cannot handle heavy breakbulk.

Some RoRo vessels are capable of carrying cargo:

  • Up to 6,1 metres high
  • Up to 12 metres wide
  • Up to 400 tons in weight

chemical plant towerA recent success story saw a 25m-long chemical plant tower safely moved from Malaysia to Ecuador. The customer typically used heavy lift cargo ships to transport such equipment. To do so, they were forced to cover the tower in large tarpaulin to protect it from the harsh conditions at sea, but not with RoRo.

Having the deodorizer tower below deck turned out to be a real win for the customer. Not only was no tarpaulin needed, saving time and money, the delicate cargo was kept safe from the harmful salt water and the extreme humidity of the open South Pacific.

Myth three: Container shipping is safer than RoRo 

There is a belief that cargo is safer shipped in a container. But when it comes to safety, there is so much more to consider.

Unlike other shipping solutions that often include multiple lifting operations which increase risk of damage, RoRo solutions are safer because of minimal lifting and shelter from the elements. The cargo never leaves the ground once it is placed and secured on the handling equipment.

Want to learn more about RoRo? Watch this explanatory video

With RoRo, the process of making every shipment safe starts long before the cargo even arrives at the port of load. Aside from details of dimensions and weights, it is vital to work with customers to learn their cargos properties, such as lashing & lifting points, centre of gravity and footprint.

railcar shippingFor transporting railcars, railed roll trailers are available in 62-, 72- and 80-foot lengths with capacities from 80 to 100 tonnes.

Multi-purpose bogies (MPBs) are a flexible equipment platform suitable for a wide range of different cargo types.

Curious about cargo handling? This is how we keep your cargo safe

oil industry componentMPBs and roll trailers were used to transport a 34-metre-long pipe-shaped testing chamber through the port at Galveston, Texas, onto a RoRo vessel for unloading in Singapore. The combination of equipment provided a ‘twist and tilt’ effect that ensured the item was not subjected to undue stresses.