RoRo Car Shipping

RoRo Car Shipping

What is RoRo?

Short for ‘Roll on Roll off’, the term originates from the way vehicles are loaded on and off of the specially designed RoRo ship. Using the ships own integral loading ramps, vehicles are simply driven on at the port of departure (‘Rolled on’) and driven off on arrival at the destination (‘Rolled off’). This is typically much faster and more efficient than standard container car shipping.

The RoRo Vessel

Roll on Roll off car shipping vessels are designed specifically for the transportation of wheeled cargo and are the preferred choice of shipping for car manufacturers including Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Jaguar to transport their vehicles all over the world.

In addition to vehicles that are capable of moving under their own power, these versatile vessels also have the capacity to carry non-motorised cargo such as boats or machinery on trailers, and non-roadworthy vehicles such as heavy plant equipment that runs on tracks.


Modern RoRo vessels are extremely sophisticated feats of modern engineering. Some of the largest ships currently in use are in excess of 860 feet long, have nine internal decks and are capable of carrying an incredible 6,000 cars per sailing.


Many ships are equipped with more than one ramp so that they can simultaneously load and unload vehicles. The speed with which loading is completed together with the sheer number of cars that can be carried on every voyage mean RoRo shipping is usually the cheapest way to ship a car.

Specialised Decks

Within the ship, some decks are allocated specifically for loading heavy plant vehicles and machinery classed as ‘High and Heavy’. For large outsized vehicles or equipment, decks can be raised and lowered for greater vertical clearance.

Security & Protection

Decks inside these ships are fully enclosed to ensure all vehicles remain protected from the elements during shipment and have securing points running throughout the floor on every deck. Vehicles shipped on RoRo vessels are tethered using straps around the wheels that are fastened to the ships integral securing eyelets.

Careful Planning

Loading of RoRo ships is very carefully planned with different types of vehicles being allocated to segregated decks so appropriate types of vehicles are loaded together – so don’t panic…. your Bentley will not be loaded alongside a mechanical digger!

The Process

RoRo Services operate from a number of different UK ports including Southampton, Bristol, Tilbury, Sheerness, and Immingham. Cars are driven to the port of departure, driven on to the ship and then driven off when she arrives at the other end. It’s really that simple.


You can choose to deliver your car to the port yourself or you can arrange for us to collect and deliver to the port for you using our nationwide collection service. Cars can be driven by a chauffeur driver, collected on a car carrier or can be transported using a fully enclosed collection vehicle.

Larger vehicles such as tractors or plant equipment may require the use of specialised vehicles for transportation to the port. Please ask us for further information on transporting outsized or unusual vehicles and one of our experienced team will be happy to help.

Export advice

Export advice for shipping a car from the UK

Before you go

The length of time you intend to export your car from the UK for will determine declarations that you will need to make to the UK authorities and to overseas customs. It will also play an important role in determining what documentation that will be required both in the UK and on arrival at destination.

Permanent Export

Information on the permanent export of a vehicle can be found on the GOV.UK website here.

Check your vehicles history

Without an Export Certificate, UK customs may decide to check on any outstanding finance owed, especially if it is a new or high value vehicle. In the event that outstanding finance is due, you may still be able to ship you vehicle providing you can get written approval from the loan company. Checking the history of your vehicle before arranging shipment will help avoid last minute delays.

Temporary Export

If you are taking your vehicle out of the country for less than 12 months you must make sure you take your Registration Document (V5) / Certificate (V5C) with you. If you do not have one, you should apply to a DVLA Local Office on form V62. The Registration Certificate may take up to 14 days to arrive. If you need to travel during this time you will need to apply for Temporary Registration Certificate. You should apply well before your journey, as there could be delays of up to 14 days in issuing the Certificate if you are not already recorded as the vehicle keeper. There is a fee for this service. You should make sure that you meet any international and national conditions for licensing and taxation.

Information on the temporary export of a vehicle can be found on the GOV.UK website here.

If you are only shipping your vehicle from the UK for a limited time you may wish to consider obtaining a Carnet de Passage to avoid having to pay a deposit to the customs authorities in the country of destination. If you intend to apply for a Carnet de Passage you should make sure your application is made well in advance as it can take over a month for the application process to complete.

Check Duty and Taxes at destination

We can ship your vehicle anywhere! However, please bear in mind that you may be liable to pay import duties and taxes to the customs authorities at destination once your vehicle has arrived at the destination port. While we can assist you with the necessary import clearance documentation, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are conversant with import regulations and requirements in your country of destination. We have no control over charges incurred by customs authorities overseas. They may charge duties and taxes at their discretion. We have provide some useful links to overseas customs websites here.


Car Shipping by Container

Car Shipping by Container

Worldwide car shipping by 20′ or 40′ container

Shipping your car in a container may provide a better solution to your requirements than a Roll on Roll off (Ro-Ro) service for a number of reasons including the type of vehicle you have to ship, your intended destination or it may simply be your preference to use a container to ship your car. Unlike Ro-Ro services, if you have some personal items or perhaps spare parts you also need to ship, these can be loaded in your car and shipped with it inside your container.

Standard containers come in two sizes; 20′ and 40′ in length. While a 20′ container is suitable for shipment of one car or 4×4, a 40′ container provides sufficient space for two average size vehicles so may be more cost effective if you have more than one vehicle to ship. We have loading facilities at all major ports in the UK including, Southampton, Felixstowe, Tilbury, Bristol, Liverpool, Grangemouth and Portsmouth where your car will be secured into its own dedicated container ready for shipment.

In addition to arranging shipment of your car, we also provide a daily collection service throughout the UK and can arrange for your car to be delivered to our container loading facility using chauffer drivers, conventional car transporters or an enclosed collection vehicle. You can, of course, deliver your car yourself and we book your delivery time with the port and provide you with the documentation and dock passes needed to hand over your car when you arrive.

Loading a car for container shipping.

Great care is taken to safely load your car so that it remains well secured for the duration of shipment to the destination and does not move within the container either while at sea or being loaded and unloaded from the ship.

At our loading facility, your car is driven into the container and carefully positioned before all four wheels are safely chocked. Wheel chocks can be made from either metal or wood and when in place are screwed down to the floor of the container.

Once the wheels have been chocked strong, padded ratchet straps are used to lash the wheels to the containers built in securing eyelets located in each corner to ensure that your car cannot move during transit.

If the nature of your vehicle means that it may not be appropriate or perhaps possible to secure straps around the wheels, the vehicles front and rear towing eyelets can be used to lash your car securely in the container.

All car shipping containers must comply with strict safety regulations confirming both their structural integrity and that they are deemed wind and watertight. These stringent requirements ensure that when loaded into a container your car will remain safe and protected from the elements.

Transported around the globe by specialist container ships, their standard size means that containers the world over are compatible with one another to be easily loaded and transported by ship, train or road trailer. While some of the largest ships currently in use are an incredible 1,300 feet long and are capable of carrying a staggering 16,000 containers, today’s purpose-built container terminals can complete unloading and re-loading in just a matter of hours.

Shipping a vehicle together with a large number of household items?

We also offer a combined car and personal effects shipping service where your household items are packed and secured to pallets using our bespoke ‘Shrinkfast’ packing system. Packing on to pallets means that both your car and belongings can be safely loaded together in the same container while greatly reducing any risk of damage.