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What is Roll on/Roll off (RORO)?

Roll-on/roll-off, also called RORO ships are vessels designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars, that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels. Also, a platform vehicle, such as a self-propelled modular transporter can be used. This contrasts with lift-on/lift-off (LoLo) vessels, which use a crane to load and unload cargo.

RORO vessels were being built in the 19th century to transport trains, too wide for the bridges, across rivers. An example of a RORO vessel is the Firth of Forth ferry which started operations in 1851. The rails were laid on the ship so that it could be connected to the ones on land. A train would then simply roll onto the ship and then roll off at the other end.

Advantages of a Roll on/Roll off Ship

A RORO ship offers a number of advantages over traditional ships. Some of the advantages are as follows:

  • For the shipper, the advantage is speed. Since cars and lorries can drive straight on to the ship at one port and then drive off at the other port within a few minutes of the ship docking, it saves a lot of time for the shipper.
  • It can also integrate well with other transport development, such as containers. The use of Customs-sealed units has enabled frontiers to be crossed with minimal delay. Therefore, it increases the speed and efficiency for the shipper.
  • The ship has also proved extremely popular with holidaymakers and private car owners. It has significantly contributed to the growth of tourism. A person can take their car from one country to another by the sea with the help of a RORO vessel.

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