Why not to ship electric cars by RoRo

October 11, 2021
Ina Gjika
Shipping a car Hawaii why not to ship an electric car by roro

Demand for electric vehicles (EVs) keeps rising as consumers are slowly opting out of conventional cars. As EV charging infrastructure expands, buying an EV becomes more appealing to consumers. When it comes to shipping EVs, just like regular cars, you can ship them anywhere – nationally or internationally. Sometimes, shipping an EV may involve crossing an ocean, leaving you to wonder how to best approach the process.

Most likely, you have read about RoRo and container shipping as two common vehicle shipping ways. The difference between the two is substantial, as there are multiple reasons why you should not select RoRo for your EV. This post will concisely explain why.

What is the difference between RoRo and container shipping?

First things first, let’s understand the difference between Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) and container shipping. RoRo consists of loading and unloading vehicles from a vessel deck. Usually, close to 5000-10,000 cars get loaded onto this movable parking garage for transport, which makes the service much cheaper.

Container shipping, on the other hand, can be more personalized as it includes fewer cars or even a single car. Once your vehicle arrives at the port or the auto shipping company warehouse, there are a few more steps to follow, which makes the service more expensive, compared to RoRo. As you get to choose the type of container, the price will vary.

Why not to ship electric cars by RoRo?

RoRo is a common way of transporting regular cars. It is also cheaper. So, what are the issues when it comes to using this shipping method to transport EVs? Why you should not choose RoRo if you are to ship your EV to Hawaii, for example?

Limited network of destinations

As RoRo ferries transport a large number of vehicles, they need to navigate in deep waters. Therefore, they cannot unload in all types of docks. If you need to ship your car internationally, or to a particular island in Hawaii, RoRo ferries cannot unload unless the port is deep enough to accommodate these ships.

Battery-related safety concerns

Most EVs run on lithium-ion batteries, which pose the danger of fire on the vessel. Due to historical fires on cargo holds, new legislation came out. According to this rule, unless your electric car qualifies for the special provision 961, the battery has to be removed in most cases of RoRo transit. These rules became part of the Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG), which every auto shipping company has to follow.

Professional employee expertise required

Because the battery may need to be removed several times, as the vessel goes to transit ports, the employees in all locations need to have sufficient experience and training to properly remove and put back the batteries. This is not always the case, which increases the risk of damaging your car. Ensuring all employees receive adequate training may require additional costs and not to mention that the shipping time increases. This significantly diminishes the initial advantages of RoRo as compared to container shipping.

Full charging is needed

Shipping an EV via RoRo sometimes involves transiting through many ports, and the vehicle has to be driven in and out of vessels each time. Therefore, it has to be fully charged from the beginning. Sometimes, vessels run out of electricity making it difficult to recharge vehicles. This problem does not appear in container shipping, where high-quality racking systems are used.

Overall, from our experience at Corsia Logistics, container shipping for EVs can be safer, faster, cheaper, and more flexible than RoRo. If you have further questions about how the whole process works, do not hesitate to get in touch by calling or writing to us. Our experienced logistics managers will make sure that your EV reaches its final destination safely and efficiently.