RORO vs Container Shipping & More: Here’s How You Can Get The Best Price To Export A Car From The UAE

Getting a quote for your car export inquiry is now easier and more convenient with DubiCars’ shipping calculator. If you’re looking at exporting a car from the UAE to any country of your choice, DubiCars’ ExportSafe is your go-to service, and now, with the shipping calculator, you can compare prices between RORO (Roll-On, Roll-Off) and container shipping. 

If you’re wondering what the differences between the two are, here’s all you need to know about exporting and shipping your car.

Car Exports & The Auto Export Industry

A little walk down history lane reveals that the car export/import industry is almost as old as the car industry itself. In fact, it was 125 years ago that the very first car export took place. Way back in 1886, Karl Benz, the inventor of the automobile filed a patent for the Benz Patent Motor Car in Germany.

A couple of years later, his wife Bertha Benz took the Motor Wagen on the first ever roadtrip. This convinced Karl Benz to market his invention and as a result, drew more buyers from other states and countries. 

Soon, several units of the Benz Patent Motor Wagen were sold to buyers in France and in England. It was only after this that the automotive industry exploded into what it is today. Now, the car export/import industry is one of the largest in the world. In 2021, the car export industry was worth 214.4 Billion Euros (AED 858.9 Billion).

Cars for export

While a vast majority of this industry is dominated by OEMs and corporations, there is a chunk of private buyers who want to get a car from one country to another. There are multiple ways to transport a car. It could be done via roadways, railways, airways, or via seaways.

A vast majority of cars are transported on ships because it is more cost-effective. In fact, a few Chinese car manufacturers have ordered their own car transportation ships to save on costs related to shipping companies.

RORO Vs Container Shipping

There are two types of ships that transport cars. One is Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) otherwise known as PCC (Pure Car Carriers). These are ships that are custom-designed just to carry cars and other vehicles. A RORO ship is basically like a gigantic car park that travels the oceans. Some of these ships have movable decks to accommodate larger vehicles like diggers, cranes, trucks, etc.

RORO Ship Parking

The other way to ship is via traditional cargo ships. These are giants of the ocean that carry generic cargo in containers and cars are sometimes transported in some of these containers. Here’s an in-depth comparison between RORO & Container shipping:

Safety & Security

Ships are now technologically advanced, reliable, and well-built, therefore making them relatively safer and secure when compared to the ships of a couple of decades ago. Ports too are heavily guarded and your car will be pretty safe. In these two aspects, there aren’t many differences between RORO & container ships.

Container Ship Loading

However, a RORO ship might make fewer stops, and once your car is parked inside the ship, there’s no realistic chance of it being moved around to accommodate other vehicles. A container ship though, will almost definitely make several stops at different ports along the way to pick up and drop more cargo. Since the containers are stacked one on top of the other, your car’s container will most definitely be moved. However, as long as the car is securely fastened, there’s no reason to worry.

Loading & Unloading Methods

The whole point of a RORO ship’s existence is to allow vehicles to be loaded and unloaded using their own engines. This makes for really quick loading and unloading. However, it also necessitates the shipping company/port drivers to get in the car and drive it on and off the ship. If you’re not too keen on letting someone else drive your car, container shipping might be better for you.

Container shipping is really simple. You can drive your car into a container, and then the car will be fastened to the container through straps and wooden blocks near the wheels. Once it is ensured that the car would not move, the container is lifted onto the ship by a gantry crane. The container with your car might end up on top of 30 other containers or under, or maybe somewhere in between. 


As aforementioned, RORO ships are designed purely to carry cars and other vehicles. As a result, they only stop at a few ports designed to be car transshipment hubs, so the stops are infrequent and quick, thereby reducing transit periods massively.

Container Ship

Container ships on the other hand have relatively frequent stops. A ship from Dubai to Japan, for example, might just stop at an Indian port for some agricultural produce, at Kuala Lumpur for some electronics, at Singapore for some chemicals, at Taiwan for something else, and you get the drift. This does slow the ships down quite a bit.

However, while under transit, container ships have a higher average speed of around 20-25 knots (37-46km/h). RORO ships, on the other hand, are a bit slower with an average speed of 16-18 knots (29-33km/h). So, if you manage to find a more direct container ship, it will be faster.

RORO Vessel

Feasibility & Port Compatibility

This is a major factor to consider in your pursuit of the best shipping method. Not all ports are compatible with RORO ships. RORO vessels generally feature a massive folding ramp at the rear of the ship. Cars and other heavy vehicles use this ramp to drive on and off the ship and not all ports are capable of handling this large ramp. 

The number of ports that can handle a container vessel is significantly higher, and this makes container ships a bit more feasible for some export destinations. As a result of being more feasible, there is a chance of getting your car shipped out earlier on a container ship than on a RORO vessel.

Container ship loading

Cost Of Shipping

When only upfront costs are considered, RORO is definitely the cheaper way to ship a car. Container shipping is a little more expensive because the cost of using the container will also have to be included. However, there are a few other variations like the transit period, transit insurance costs, packing costs, etc. The best thing to do would be to get a free shipping quotation through the DubiCars Shipping Calculator.

Car Container

DubiCars ExportSafe Shipping Calculator

DubiCars’ ExportSafe Shipping Cost Calculator is the easiest and most convenient way to calculate the cost of shipping a car from the UAE to a destination of your choice. It offers up-to-date pricing for a variety of ports. In case your port of interest is unique and not frequently used, our team will revert with the cost quotation in the shortest time frame possible.

It boasts a simple user interface and asks for basic details like Destination Country, Destination Port, Type Of Vehicle, Number Of Vehicles, etc. If the Destination Port isn’t available in the dropdown menu, there is an option to enter one manually. Once these details are entered into the calculator along with contact information, the ExportSafe Calculator gives you the exact quote to ship your car.

There are thousands of cars available in the UAE to be exported. Check out the list of new cars for export from the UAE and used cars for export from the UAE.

Also Read:

Top 10 SUVs In The UAE: The Definitive List

Toyota Land Cruiser: All You Need To Know About The Land Cruiser

e-Fuels Vs EVs and How It Affects GCC Countries

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