What Is the Meaning of RoRo in Shipping?

What Is the Meaning of RoRo in Shipping - Merchant Navy Info - Blog

Ro-Ro is an abbreviation for roll-on/roll-off. A roll-on/roll-off ship is a ship on wheels and also used to transport cargo. A RoRo ship is different from a Lo-Lo (lift-on-liftoff) ship, which uses a crane to load cargo. Vehicles on board are loaded and unloaded via a built-in ramp. These lamps are usually placed towards the stern (rear) of the ship. On some ships, they can be found not only on the sides but also on the bow (front). Ships can be military or civilian.

RoRo ship was built in the 19th century to transport trains across rivers that were too wide for bridges. An example of a RoRo vessel is the Firth of Forth Ferry, which began operating in 1851. The ship had rails laid so that it could be connected to the rails on land. The train then simply boarded the ship and also sped off again at the other end.

Advantages of RoRo Vessels 

RoRo vessels have many advantages over conventional vessels.


The advantage for the sender is speed. Cars and also trucks can travel directly from one port to the ship and depart from the other port within minutes of the ship berthing, saving shippers significant time. Also integrates well with other transportation developments, such as containers. Bonded units allow you to cross borders with minimal delays. Therefore, speed and also efficiency on the sender side are increased. This vessel is also very popular with vacationers and private car owners. It has greatly contributed to the growth of the tourism industry. With the help of RoRo ships, you can transport cars from one country to another by sea.

Variations Of The Ro-Ro Ship 

The specific variations of the Ro-Ro ship are as follows. Pure Car Carriers (PCC) / Pure Auto Truck Transporters (PCTC) Pure Car Carriers (PCC) / Pure Auto Trucks -Transporters (PCTC) are box-shaped structures with ramps for loading and unloading cargo. Pure car transporters are used only to transport cars, while PCTCs are used to transport all types of cars. These consist of a quarter ramp at the rear, two ramps on each side, a covered internal ramp, and also a buildable deck used to move the vehicle onto the multi-level deck. Vehicles enter directly into the ship and travel to the various decks via an internal ramp system.


ROPAX is an abbreviation for Passenger Roll-on/Roll-off. This is a RoRo ship built to transport goods with passenger accommodation. Vessels that can accommodate more than 500 passengers are often referred to as cruise ferries.RoPax is typically used for short sea shipping. These ships comply with both international standards applicable to passenger ships and RO-RO. ROPAX traffic is unevenly distributed around the world. Its traffic mainly takes place in the Nordic seas.


Rolo is an abbreviation for Roll-on-Lift-off Vessel. This is also a hybrid ship with a ramp on the vehicle deck, but the other cargo deck can only be accessed by crane. These ships can transport not only vehicles but also general cargo and heavy metals as the weight of general cargo and heavy metal parts may exceed the ramp loading capacity, a marine/shore crane can be used to load and unload the cargo directly into the hold.


A ConRo ship is a combination of a RoRo ship and a container ship. This type of ship uses the area below the deck for vehicle storage, and containerized cargo is stacked above the deck. In some ships, the ship is divided into two parts: the lower deck of one side has a cell guide where containers can be loaded, and the lower deck of the other has all the equipment for transporting cars, etc. All cargo space on the deck is used for transporting containers. On these ships, the loading and unloading process requires great care, as differences in weight distribution can affect the stability of the ship. 

This type of vessel has less surface area exposed to the wind compared to other Ro-Ro vessels. Introduced in the 1950s.Roll-on/Roll-off Vessels, Loading and Securing Vehicles Main Hazard Sources Although RoRo vessels make up a small proportion of commercial shipping tonnage, accidents involving RoRo vessels are numerous and more serious. It is very important to understand the causes of danger” that cause such frightening situations. These hazards affect not only the safety of roll-on/roll-off vessels but also the safety of passengers and crew.

Storage Space 

The Ro-Ro boat is a true workhorse at sea. Its versatility in transporting a wide range of cargo and short port calls proves its efficiency. The ship’s cargo capacity increases the ship’s revenue efficiency. Therefore, in order to create an optimal loading plan, it is very important to optimally utilize the cargo space, which is inherently problematic for the Ro-Ro concept.Below are some basic points to keep in mind when loading cargo onto a roll-on roll-off vessel.

  1. The shipper’s specific advice and guidelines regarding the handling and stowage of individual vehicles should be considered.
  2. Vehicles should be oriented as vertically as possible.
  3. Do not store the vehicle above a fire curtain where it may be exposed to splashing water.
  4. Vessels should be stowed securely alongside the ship so that lateral movement is restricted in case of failure of anchorage equipment or for other reasons.
  5. However, there must be sufficient distance between vehicles to allow crew and passengers to safely enter and exit the vehicle and to enter and exit vehicle compartment entrances.
  6. Secure access to security devices, safeguards, and operational controls must be provided and properly maintained.
  7. Stairways and escape routes from rooms below the vehicle deck must be kept clear.
  8. The vessel shall not be obstructed by obstructions to the bow and stern doors, entrances to accommodation spaces, ladders, stairs, companionways or access hatches, fire extinguishing equipment, controls for on-deck drain valves and controls for fire dampers in ventilation shafts.

Difficulties Faced

Shippers also face certain difficulties when stowing cargo on Ro-Ro vessels.

  1. Cargo stowage on deck 
  2. Different types or classes of cargo 
  3. Cargo geometry 
  4. Securing of cargo within the unit 
  5. Number of absent transverse bulkheads 
  6. Loading conditions 
  7. Stability and rotation hours 


Properly securing cargo is of paramount importance for the safety of life at sea. The geometry of a RoRo vessel can lead to disaster if it becomes unstable. According to a DNV study, one of the main causes of maritime accidents involving RoRo vessels is “cargo slippage.”

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