Date: 29.03.2023

RoRo car carrier market attracting container shipping lines

After a long recovery from the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic the RoRo Car Carrier sector recorded high freight rates and a surge in demand, that has continued through 2022 and is now attracting new market entrants from the container shipping sector.

Five consecutive years of low orders for pure car carriers and other RoRo configurations up to 2021, combined with significant scrapping over the same period, laid the foundations for the challenging supply conditions the market has been experiencing. 

Last year began to reverse the trend, with 53 new vessel orders, which is up 124% versus the historical average, but it was left too late and many shipyards closed out last year, fully booked until 2025.

China’s vehicle export volumes increased 56.9% year-on-year in 2022 and the export value made a substantial growth of 74.8%, leading Chinese automotive manufacturer Chery to develop a car carrier construction base in Weihai, Shandong province, to meet its growing automobile transportation demands, by building batches of 6,000 ceu car carriers.

China’s Guangzhou Shipyard International most recently agreed contracts for three 8,600 ceu car carriers order, bringing its order book to 25 dual-fuel car carrier’s, while leading carrier Grimaldi has firmed options for five Pure Car & Truck Carriers (PCTCs) with China Merchants Heavy Industries in Jiangsu, which brings the number of car carriers ordered by Grimaldi to 15 in under three months.

Looking for alternative revenue streams, to counter the global lull in container shipping demand, carriers have been looking at investing in the car and truck market.

Cosco Shipping’s recently established automobile transport unit, Cosco Shipping Car Carrier, placed orders for four 7,000 ceu PCTCs, which join the 21 car carriers that they already have on order, while CMA CGM, is looking to charter four vessels and HMM is reportedly looking for opportunities to benefit from the booming car-carrying trade.

Metro has specialised in the automotive, construction and agricultural vehicle sectors for over four decades, working with many of the most respected and established global brands, to coordinate the end to end movement of vehicles and machinery around the world, by RoRo and container services.

Long-standing partnerships and volume agreements with the leading RoRo, PCTC and container shipping lines means we can offer the widest choice of services, routes and solutions for automotive, truck and knocked-down-vehicle movements.

To learn more, or to discuss our automotive capability, EMAIL Ian Tubbs.