RoRo Ships: Types of Unique Vessels for Automobile Transportation

RoRo Ships: Automobile transportation uses a unique kind of vessel known as a roll-on/roll-off, or RoRo, ship. These boats also referred to as car carriers, are designed with unique inclines or ramps that facilitate the simple and easy loading and unloading of automobiles and freight.

A RoRo vessel’s inclines are attached to the entry at either the bow, aft, or both of the vessel’s ends. Thus, passing through these doors for vehicular traffic is not complicated at all.

In addition to moving cars between harbors beside rivers, these boats are also becoming more and more useful for moving cars between ports located across oceans.

Many technological developments in these car carrier ships over time have led to the emergence of many kinds of roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) ships.

Roll-on/roll-off vessel types

RoRO ships that are pure car carriers (PCC) and pure car and truck carriers (PCTC)

A PCTC (Pure Car and Truck Carrier) is a type of RoRo ship that carries trucks and other four-wheeled vehicles in addition to cars. A PCC (Pure Car Carrier) is a type of RoRo ship that exclusively carries cars.

These types of boats are quite robust, pretty huge, and very noticeable when out on the water. They are mostly employed in the delivery of more recent automobiles to the necessary export location.

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Ro Ro (ConRo) Ship plus Container Vessel

ConRos are RoRo vessels that incorporate elements of both conventional container ships and RoRo ships. The interior load distribution and balance of such vessels are achieved through the careful distribution of their loads. These vessels can carry loads ranging from 20,000 to over 50,000 deadweight tons (DWT).

Ships with General Cargo and Ro Ro Ships (GenRo)

The word “GenRo” refers to a standard cargo-carrying vessel that has been outfitted with the RoRo facility. The GenRo, which is a little bit smaller and more compact than the other two classifications, can move loads that range in approximate DWT from 2,000 to over 30,000.


A car-carrying vehicle that also accommodates passengers living on board is referred to as a RoPax vehicle. However, RoPax is primarily a technical term, and these are the boats that span river docks carrying cars and passengers. They are known as ferries.

Whole RoRo Ships

RoRo Ships
(Credit: DFreight)

A type of vehicle carrier with inclines on both the inside and outside is called a Complete RoRo vessel. These kinds of vessels are mostly utilized in the high seas and lack hatchways. They can lead from 2,000 to about 40,000 deadweight tonnes and are self-contained.

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In addition, RoRo vessels’ load-measuring gauges are different from those of conventional vessels. The values, expressed in lanes in meters (LiM), are calculated by multiplying the total number of decks in the vessel by the length and width of the load routes, which are where the vehicles are piled.

RoRo ships are not only used by the military to transport essential supplies but also for civilian purposes.

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