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which is the best method for shipping a vehicle, RORO or a container

  Diverse reasons and situations would always necessitate the purchasing and subsequent importation/exportation of vehicles from one country to the other or from a geographical location to another.

car shipping

   You may however want to keep your transportation (shipping) cost as low and as convenient as possible especially considering the fact that you may have already spent a fortune in acquiring the car and may probably spend more to get a customs clearance.

  Deciding on the method of shipment for your car is therefore a very important aspect in the car purchasing process.  An overseas vehicle importer has two options when shipping vehicles. Either transporting in a container on a container vessel or opting for a Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO) service also known as a car carrier.

   While each of the two options would get your car to you, you might want to consider the pros and cons for each method before making a decision.

  Using a  container vessel

   Shipping your vehicle through a container basically involves lashing the said car in a container and transporting through a container vessel. This method is more expensive comparably to a RORO service. It however guarantees exclusivity to the space in the container thus if you opted for an  Full Container Load (FCL).

   Using a container to ship you car also gives you the opportunity to stuff the container with other personal effects that you might want to ship along with your car. This method is therefore more ideal when you are relocating or moving residence with more than just your car. However, your car in a container may  be handled many more times compared to a RORO service..


Opting for a RORO service (car carrier)

   A car carrier is basically a vessel purposely designed and equipped to facilitate the storage and transportation of cars permitting a Roll On Roll Off service, cars are literally rolled into the hold of a vessel lashed , transported and rolled off at the port of discharge.

 This is a more cheaper alternative compared to shipping in a container. It also allows for less handling of your vehicle as it is rolled on (at loading) and rolled off (at discharge). The car must however be fully operational as it must be driven into the vessel, a nonoperational car may however attract extra cost during the loading process.(as there may be the need for jump starting)

  Car carriers are mostly used by the major car manufacturers to distribute their cars so it is surely  a safe method of vehicle shipment.

  Note however that, when you intend to relocate or move residence and may want to send other personal effects in addition to your vehicle then a RORO service would not be the ideal choice for you.

Making a decision

   While a container vessel may not be limited geographically ,a Car carrier may be. This is because almost every port has facilities to  service a container vessel and therefore can be used to ship cars  from any location, on the other hand not all ports may be equipped to service a RORO vessel hence some geographic limitation with regards usage. There is  also the issue of frequency of service as there are more container vessels calling at ports comparably to car carriers. Fortunately in Ghana, the Tema port can service a car carrier.

     In deciding on which method to use , consider your needs, the cost as well as convenience and most importantly availability. With my opinion however, I would suggest a RORO service since it has a slight advantage over container in terms of cost and convenience.

   Hope this information was helpful, please leave your comments below and also share this post

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  • dennis

    It depends on a number of factors:
    1. Destination port: Does it have a facility for handling RoRo cargo – open space/ yard/ sheds/godowns?
    2. Which one is cost effective? (Handling charges; hiring a driver vs hiring a truck for container, or better still, you picking up the car from the port; volume of consignments, etc)
    3. Are you able to work out some discounts with the terminal operator(s)?
    4. As for safety, both methods are the same. It only requires due diligence both at the POL and POD. Bear in mind that we have cases whereby containers have reached destination empty or loaded with sand instead of the manifested cargo. Similarly, Cars have landed and disappeared without trace at the POD.
    5. Special vehicles like those intended for Military or dignitaries are always concealed in containers, away from the prying eyes of the general public.
    6. Regularity of sailings: Continerships sail regularly and predictably. So if you need urgent cargo, you may go with containerization given that ships will always sail as per schedule whether they have enough cargo or not. If they don’t get enough cargo, they will always reposition empty boxes.
    In short, I would consider above scenarios before deciding on what method to use.

    Francis Achieng

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