Cars shipped in containers


When shipping cars via ocean freight, probably the most common way to ship them is via Ro/Ro vessels (Roll-on/Roll-off). But: shipments via container vessels can bear advantages, as well.  That is one focus of our office in Rotterdam. In this article our specialist Bert de Haan outlines some of them.

Well-connected: a broad selection of shipping routes

“The international route network of container vessels is well developed. There exist many direct connections with a high frequency of sailings”, Bert de Haan, specialist for container transports at our Rotterdam office, says. He organizes the shipments of cars in containers. Many are new vehicles in the premium segment destined for Asia.

A ‘gentle’ option

“The shipping of vehicles in containers is a ‘gentle’ option, too”, he says. “The cars are safe from external weathering conditions and can not be damaged by other vehicles or freight pieces next to them. When shipping vehicles in the premium segment, we of course put a particular emphasis on transport solutions that offer a high amount of cargo protection.

To also ensure the safety of the vehicle inside the container, the car’s reel whim is lashed to the container’s side walls.  Additionally, there is the possibility to use additional special equipment such as air bags that are placed between the container wall and the vehicle and are inflated by air pressure. They act as sort of extra cushion”, Bert de Haan further explains. 


Saving time by detours - sounds like a contradiction. But it is not! 

Port of destination reached – now what?

For transports of vehicles with destination Shanghai, China, our specialists in Rotterdam consciously opt for POD HongKong. “We do that, because we can save time at the customs clearance and the shipment may actually arrive at the consignee earlier”, our specialist explains.

As for the on-carriage of cars, a general and commonly used way is transportation via car transporter. “For this transport section we also implement rather uncommon solutions ”, Bert de Haan says.  “Depending on where the consignee is located and the on the respective infrastructure available, we may choose barge transportation as an alternative to trucking. With the cars still safely stowed in containers this mode of transport can be beneficial for example in regards to cargo protection.”

Good to know

When it comes to shipping cars in containers, limitations of course occur in regards to dimensions given by the size of the container.

Next to using standard containers for shipping cars, however, there are containers which are specifically made for the transport of vehicles. These containers offer slots for three or four vehicles, depending on the vehicle size. “These types of container have ramps on the inside that offer the possibility to store the vehicles on top of or diagonally to each other, to use the given place as best as possible”, Bert de Haan explains.

So, an ocean journey of cars via Ro/Ro vessel may be more common compared to shipment in containers, but choosing the “steel boxes” may offer advantages to shippers and/or consignees in regards to quickness and directness of port-to-port connections as well as in cargo protection.

Would you like to know more? Our team in Rotterdam is looking forward to assisting you.

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