Are you curious about what RoRo ships are? You’re in the right place if so. RoRo is short for roll-on/roll-off. It’s a vessel designed to transport wheeled cargo, such as cars, vans and trailers. Anything that can be rolled onto and off the ship.
There’s more to the RoRo ship and some variations on that theme. This article will take you deeper into the world of the roll-on / roll-off vessel. Learn more about this important member of the merchant navy fleets around the world.
Who says cargo ships and container vessels should be the ones getting all the glory?
All you need to know about RoRo vessels
RoRo ships may also be called Ro-Ro ships. It’s the same thing but with a different spelling.
What makes RoRo different from other vessels used to transport cargo? Both container ships and cargo vessels use cranes to load and unload cargo. Although these cranes are typically located at the port, some smaller vessels, such as feeder’s vessels, will also have them on board. LoLo ships are a place where crane-using vessels can be seen – lift-on/lift-off.
Given the nature of the cargo, namely wheeled vehicles, a RoRo does not need cranes. Instead, the vehicles can be driven onto and off the ship via ramps.
The ramp is usually located at the stern in most RoRos. Others will find the ramp in the bow or along the sides. For vessels that don’t have a ramp built-in, there are ramps located at the port.
Types of RoRo vessels
RoRo ships offer many benefits for the passenger as well as the owner, operator, or shipping company. It takes a lot longer to load and unload freight using a crane than it does for vehicles to drive onto the ship, park and then drive away at the port on either side.
It’s therefore not surprising that RoRo vessels have evolved in different forms since the days when train wagons were being transported.
Different RoRo vessels
RoRo ships that are used to transport vehicles as freight fall under the category of “cargo ship”. However, there is more to the simple roll-on-roll-off vessel. Passenger ferries, cruise ferries, and barges can all be RoRo vessels, as well.
These are just a few examples of RoRo ships:
- PCC – Pure Car Carriers: Designed exclusively for the transport of cars.
- PTCC – Pure Truck & Car Carriers: As you can see, it is used to transport trucks and cars as well as other vehicles.
- ConRo is a hybrid of a container ship (or RoRo) and a ship that carries containers. This vessel uses the space below the deck to store vehicles, and the top decks to stack shipping containers.
- Rolo – You might have already guessed that this is a roll-on/lift-off vessel. For containerized cargo, cranes can be used while ramps can load and unload wheeled cargo.
- LMSR – Large, medium-speed roll-on / roll-off vessel. Most LMSR ships are RoRo cargo ships of Military Sealift Command (MSC), which were either specifically built for military cargo or converted from RoRo commercial ships.
- RoPax – Short for roll-on / roll-off and passengers. These vessels are used to transport wheeled freight, but also provide accommodation for passengers. A ship that can carry more than 500 people is called a cruise ferry. This vessel combines RoPax’s freight handling capabilities with some of the amenities of a cruise ship.
How does a RoRo ship’s cargo get measured?
Normally, container ship and cargo freight are measured in metric tonnes. It’s more complicated when you’re dealing with RoRo’s cargo. This won’t be easily divided into stackable shipping boxes, but it will include a variety of vehicles of various sizes, shapes, and weights.
The cost of transport will be affected by which shipping method you choose. RoRo shipping is the best option.
Types of vehicles that can be shipped using Roro ship
The ro-ro shipping method can deliver anything with wheels or that can be securely and safely placed on them. These are the most common types of vehicles that can be shipped using Roro ships:
- Construction equipment
- Cargo international
- Military vehicles
RoRo ships: Conclusion
Although the RoRo ship may not be the first vessel you think of when you think about cargo ships or merchant navy, they are the unsung heroes of the seas.
They are quick to get to the port and can transport cargo and passengers in a variety of ways. The roll-on/roll-off model, and all variants of it, are not likely to go anywhere.