5 reasons why RoRo is great for your breakbulk

RoRo vessels don’t just carry cars – they’re also great for transporting breakbulk products to destinations around the world. Ben Hargreaves explores why customers are turning to RoRo for their breakbulk shipments.

Breakbulk listicle

1. RoRo vessels can handle almost any type of breakbulk.

RoRo vessels might have started out shipping cars, sure, but today they’re designed to handle all types of breakbulk, from heavy mining and construction machinery to rail cars, power transformers, aero engines and installations for the oil and gas industry.

RoRo has proved to be a breakbulk record breaker: did you know that WW Ocean shipped the heaviest ever Japanese shipment on RoRo in 2018? That was a 275-tonne rotor from the port of Yokohama to Zeebrugge in Belgium. In short, RoRo vessels are great for shipping breakbulk as well as cars, and that’s why more and more customers are turning to RoRo services.

2. RoRo is an exceptionally safe and secure means of shipping breakbulk.

Some shipping solutions involve multiple lifting operations and cargo is exposed to the elements on open deck. RoRo transport involves minimal lifting of your product as well as dry and safe storage inside the vessel, protected from the environment.

The inside of a RoRo vessel is a flexible space that can accommodate many different types of cargo, with ramps linking decks. Once the right deck has been selected for the breakbulk in question, it’s safely secured and then not lifted again during ocean transit. That helps to prevent damage.

3. RoRo is an economical option for shippers.

The savings promised by load-on, load-off (LoLo) and container vessels are often cancelled out by additional costs like labour, container and equipment rental. RoRo pricing is more transparent – and may actually mean a lower overall total transport cost.

With a regular RoRo liner service, there’s no need to hire warehousing at port, which also helps save time and money. Guaranteed RoRo departure times mean you can arrange your own port operations and breakbulk can be moved onto vessels when required – with no need for costly storage at port while waiting for the right vessel.

4. Whatever the type of breakbulk, specialised equipment is available to handle it.

WW Ocean has developed an array of handling equipment to service the needs of its breakbulk customers, including roll trailers, multi-purpose bogies, Samson heavy lift trailers, blocks and beams, and bolsters. Many items of equipment are specially designed in-house for specific customers.

Equipment may be used on its own or in combination with other types. Roll trailers are used to handle any type of breakbulk cargo up to 140 tonnes in weight, while multi-purpose bogies are typically used for rail cars, beams, and compact generators and transformers. Samson trailers can handle breakbulk up to 220 tonnes in weight; with blocks and beams and jack-up trailers, that figure rises to 400 tonnes.

5. RoRo vessels operate globally, with frequent and fast services to many destinations.

WW Ocean’s RoRo network operates globally to a frequent scheduled timetable. Unlike LoLo routes, a RoRo liner service is reliable and frequent, and transshipment hubs provide a safe and secure means of negotiating complex routes for your products. Cargo awaiting transfer is always lashed to secure wheeled handling equipment – which means peace of mind for customers.

Fast facts

WW Ocean operates the largest and most breakbulk-capable RoRo fleet in the world. Our RoRo vessels can carry breakbulk cargo

  • up to 6.1 metres high
  • up to 12 metres wide
  • up to 400 tonnes in weight.

Interested in shipping with us? Request a rate

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