The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a large economic bloc comprising 10 member states in Southeast Asia. The members – which include Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Brunei, and Cambodia – all have in common a shared coastline in the South Pacific or South China Sea. The shipping lanes that run between the thousands of small islands in the bloc are strongly dominated by container ships, and the ASEAN region encompasses some of the most important trade routes in the world for international car transportation.
Container Transport or Ro-Ro?
When shipping cars to one of the ASEAN countries, or when using a port or trade route within the bloc as a springboard to another destination, containerised transport is your best option, rather than Ro-Ro. This is for two reasons, one geographical, and the other economic.
1) The first, geographical reason is due to the nature of the seas and ports in the area, and that of Ro-Ro ferries.
The area of ocean encompassing the South China Sea and Java Sea forms part of the south-east Asian continental shelf. In contrast to the deep trenches of the Pacific Ocean, the seas are comparatively shallow, and during the last ice age were actually dry land. This poses a problem for Ro-Ro vessels, which are large and heavy ships that sit low in the water, and so need a deep water port in order to berth. While Ro-Ro ships regularly use shipping lanes to traverse the ASEAN region, they are limited in options to disembark. Container ships, on the other hand, have a wide, shallow berth, and thus more options when it comes to ports of call.
2) The second issue comes down to time and money. Getting cars on and off a Ro-Ro ferry takes time. Multiply this with several changes of ship due to island hopping, and it can add a considerable amount of time to your journey. There is more expense too, when you take into account porterage, storage, security, and so on.
These are the reasons that container shipping is so popular in the region, and not just for raw materials and other containerised goods – it works just as easily for cars as well.
Containerised Car Shipping Solutions from Trans-Rak
Shipping containers radically streamline the process of shipping cars between islands in a place like the Philippines, as well as saving time and lowering the risk of damage; find out more about how we ensure your car is secure. Our R-RAK and EL-RAK stainless steel racking solutions help transport companies get better value from container shipments, by increasing the storage capacity of each shipping container. To find out more, or to request a quote, please get in touch today. You can also download our free Containerised Car Transport Guide by clicking here.