If you’re interested in the idea of using container shipping to transport vehicles, you’re possibly wondering how it differs to RORO solutions. Anyone with a history in automotive manufacturing and trade will already know that designing and creating these tarmac-devouring icons is only half the story. Getting them from the workshop to their natural environment of the open road can be something else altogether. Traditional methods tend to use a complex itinerary of ferries, trains, barges, and vehicle transporters, and frequently include multiples of some or all.
This ABC guide explains how using an R-Rak container transport solution works. This opens a window onto the whole process, whether from the perspective of a manufacturer who wants to tighten budgets, or a logistics supplier wanting to expand options.
A) Fit The Containers With R-Rak Modules
An R-Rak is a steel harness that holds vehicles in place whilst they are inside a container. The first time that a company installs them, step-by-step technical guidance and support is given. Fitting an R-Rak pod into a container is not particularly difficult. However, the engineering of the racks is designed to absorb forces whilst holding the vehicles securely, so it is important to ensure a perfect fit. The majority of major logistics carriers are already proficient in the installation and use of R-Rak systems, but our team are always happy to share their expertise with new devotees.
B) Utilise Existing Logistical Supply Routes
Container transport is harmonised so that the same containers can be moved from road, to rail, to ship, without the need to open them. Universalised gripping, stacking, and loading methods mean that the contents of a container are irrelevant. A single ship might have a cargo of televisions, lightbulbs, fresh flowers, motorcycles, and frozen fish. None of this variance matters. All of the containers are moved from A to B in exactly the same way, regardless of their contents. This is why they are often referred to as the “carrier bags” of logistics. These carrier bags will use well-trodden routes to get the containers to the designated showroom, and this is all tracked by GPS.
C) Fold The Modules, And Ship Home
Up to 60 R-RAK modules can be collapsed and transported in one 40ft container. A 20,000 shipment of cars would usually require just 5000 containers on the out-going phase of the journey, and just over 300 containers to ship the modules home. Overall, this halves the traditional cost of transporting vehicles by container. It also transfers inherent savings, such as being able to use a single ship to traverse deep, shallow, and canal waters. If moving vehicles from Europe to Asia, this can save three transfers in each direction.
Unlike wooden racks, which are single-use, R-Raks are immediately ready to take to the waves again. Aside from the fact that traditional wooden racks can only accommodate two vehicles per box, this efficiency wastage has been the other major downside to shipping cars inside containers. With the innovation of reinforced steel racks, both of these problems are solved. Four cars can be transported in each unit, and the module itself is a one-off investment.
What Does All Of This Mean?
If you’re a logistics supplier, this option means that you can offer competitive pricing and timescales. Many of the headaches of RORO shipping are erased, and the much more robust infrastructure of containerisation can be utilised. Your task is easier, and your clients get a better deal.
If you’re a manufacturer, it means that you have more choice and control. If your logistics supplier is using R-Raks, then the product is sealed into the envelope at one end of the journey, and it is safely opened at the other end. A little like using the Royal Mail, there is just one transaction involved. This helps with time efficiency, cost efficiency, security, and the carbon footprint.
If you are a logistics specialist that is not already using R-Raks, please get in touch. We offer full training and support, and can share information about increasing efficiency by transporting cars in containers. If you are a manufacturer and would like to learn more, you can download our free e-book or talk to a member of our team. The global shipping trade is being transformed, and we’re delighted to welcome you aboard.