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Should I ship my car using RoRo or container shipping?

Posted on June 28, 2021

If you’re shipping a vehicle to or from New Zealand, you have two main options: Roll-on/Roll-off shipping (RoRo) and container shipping. In most cases, RoRo is the most affordable and timely shipping method compared to container shipping. However, if you’re looking for a more secure option or to ship other belongings with your vehicle, a container may be better suited to your needs.

What is RoRo shipping?

Roll on/roll off involves your vehicle being driven onto and off the ship and parked inside the vessel or on deck throughout the journey. It is an efficient way to transport cars, motorhomes, trucks, motorbikes and other wheeled cargo internationally. 

Ro/Ro shipping is the ideal mode of transport if you are looking to only move an empty vehicle. If the vehicle is larger than a 40ft container, RoRo is likely your only option.

What is container shipping?

When you ship your vehicle in a container, the car is stored in an open or closed container.

The cheapest method here is to consolidate your car with other vehicles bound for the same destination. Or, you can use an exclusive container, which can fit your vehicle and other belongings or furniture if needed. 

If you are moving overseas and have extra items to transport, container shipping is an ideal way to ship your car and personal effects all at once. 

Differences between RoRo and container shipping

To ship your vehicle using RoRo, the car needs to be in running condition. With container shipping, the vehicle can be in any condition as it does not need to be driven during the shipping process.

RoRo is less expensive than container shipping.

The cost of container shipping will also depend on whether you use an exclusive or shared container. Exclusive container shipping is the most expensive option, but it does mean you can ship a large number of belongings and furniture with your car. 

Chances of vehicle damage are less likely with container shipping.

Once the vehicle is loaded into the container, the container is sealed and cannot be accessed until it is unpacked by you or your shipping provider. RoRo cars are driven by shipping workers and are more exposed to the elements.

You can include other personal belongings when shipping via container. If you are moving overseas and want to ship furniture as well, container shipping could be your best option.

RoRo shipping has more reliable departure and arrival dates than container shipping.

If you want your vehicle to arrive faster or need definite dates, we recommend RoRo shipping.

Container ships operate on more access routes than RoRo ships. 

If you are shipping your vehicle to or from major hubs, RoRo ships are likely to be frequently travelling those routes. If you are looking at shipping between more obscure destinations, container shipping may be your only option.


Whether you choose to transport your vehicle via Roll On/Roll Off or container shipping, at McCulloughs we are known for reliable service and competitive prices. Get in touch to discuss ocean transport options for your car and get a free quote today.

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