A new study has concluded that the cost of shipping cars in containers is not necessarily more expensive than using roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) vessels.
The study was conducted by Sean Xu of the World Maritime University in Malmӧ in Sweden and examines the logistics of door-to-door automotive transportation.
The report argues that, when it comes to shipping a consistently large quantity of vehicles in regular slots, ro-ro is still the right choice.
However, where there are changes to schedules and fluctuating volumes, containerisation often proves more convenient and cost-efficient.
Larger ro-ro vessels must follow deep sea routes, travel more slowly and there are fewer ports with ro-ro terminals.
In contrast, container ships have more frequent sailings, quicker transit times and a wider choice of ports.
A statement from Trans-Rak International, a company which manufactures car racks for containers, welcomed the study.
Its managing director Paul Donaldson said: “Historically, ro-ro has always been the dominant option for shipping vehicles in volume but, in more recent years, containerisation has emerged strongly as a viable alternative.”
In a statement, Trans-Rak said that ro-ro exposes cars to more opportunities for damage – both as the cars are driven on and off the vessel and due to having less protection from the weather.