RORO Shipping from Japan

We buy a car for you from an auction in Japan, but then we need to get it to you on the other side of the world. There are two ways to do this – container shipping and RORO shipping. Here we will look at RORO shipping.

What is RORO shipping?

The easiest way to think about it is to imagine a RORO ship as a giant car ferry. Vehicles are driven on and off the ship by port workers called stevedores, hence the name — Roll On Roll Off.

Within the RORO world, there are two major divisions  – the PCC (Pure Car Carrier) that is for cars only, and PCTC (Pure Car Truck Carrier) that carries both regular passenger cars as well as larger vehicles, like trucks and buses.

From your point of view as a customer, it makes no difference whether your car is shipped by PCC or PCTC.

What are the advantages of RORO shipping?

RORO shipping tends to be a better choice than container shipping for the majority of customers. There are a number of reasons for this.

First of all, RORO shipping tends to be cheaper. Since the cars are simply driven on and off, there is no need to use extra materials (like a container and materials to load the car), nor does it take as many man hours per car to prepare the vehicle for shipping.

Then when you get the car at your end, you can just go a pick it up and drive it (or have it transported) away. There’s no need to extract it from a container, which can require some equipment and skill.

Another advantage of RORO shipping is that you can easily ship single cars, or odd numbers of cars:

Let’s imagine the kind of cars you buy fit four per container. So what happens if you get three and want to stop? Well, you have to ship the container with those three, so the shipping cost per car will be 33% more than if you had four.

And if you’re a low volume buyer, it could be quite a while before you have bought enough to fill your container. But with a RORO ship, we can book each car as you buy them — even if they only end up one per ship.

Are there any disadvantages to RORO shipping?

The major disadvantage would simply be this – if there was no RORO ship going to a port near you.

The RORO shipping routes are very extensive. Plus Japan is obviously a center of car manufacturing, so many RORO ships ply routes to and from Japan’s ports to service these big auto makers. However, there are a few countries or locations which RORO services are not available for. If you want to know about your location, make sure you contact us here.

Occasionally, there are incidences of items being stolen from inside the car while it is in transit on the ship. This is a fairly rare occurrence, and we can help protect items in your car by disguising them or hiding them in the vehicle. Another alternative for a stereo would be for us to remove it and send it to you by airmail. Most customers do not consider this necessary, though.

How much does RORO shipping cost?

RORO shipping tends to be cheaper on a per-car basis than container shipping for most customers. The cost per car is calculated like this:

The shipping company will have one or several per cubic meter (or “M3”)  rates.

The “M3” is calculated by multiplying the width, length and height of the car in meters. So the cubic meter volume is the size of the box of space the car fits into, rather than the exact volume of the car.

Here is a (fictional) example of a three-tier rate system:

Vehicles up to 1.5 m in height = $64.55 per cubic meter
Vehicles over 1.5 m and under 1.85m  in height = $72.55 per cubic meter
Vehicles over 1.85 m in height = $83.45 per cubic meter

For each of these prices, the dollar value is the US Dollar (USD).

So, let’s imagine we have 2 vehicles we are shipping to you: One is a small sedan which is exactly 10 cubic meters and is under 1.5 meters high. The rate for this car will be $64.55 per cubic meter.

The other vehicle is a 12.35 M3 SUV that is 1.7 meters high. The rate for this SUV will be $72.55 per M3.

Now, let’s calculate the cost for each:

The sedan

10.00 M3   *   $64.55   =   $645.50


12.35 M3   *   $72.55 = $895.99

To find out about specific shipping costs for your country, please contact us and tell us:

  • The destination country and (if possible) port.
  • The make, model and year of vehicle you are thinking of buying.

How do I pay for the shipping?

For most shipping destinations, you will be able to pay the shipping company directly at your end in your currency a short while before the ship itself arrives. So what will happen is that the shipping company will do the calculation above to get the US Dollar cost and then they will convert that to your currency and send you a bill.

When you can pay for shipping at your end, this is called “FOB” (Free On Board) shipping.

Some destinations have to be paid by the shipper — Integrity Exports. Again, the shipping company will calculate the charge in US Dollars, but then they will convert this into Japanese Yen and send the invoice to us. We pay the shipping company, then bill you this same amount in Yen, and you make a transfer to us.

When shipping is paid by the shipper like this, it is usually “CIF” (Cost + Insurance + Freight) shipping.


If you have any questions about container or RORO shipping, please contact us at and we will be happy to help.

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