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Shipping costs for cars in containers were once perceived to be far more expensive than RORO; but a new study illustrates that this is not necessarily the case anymore and that there are clear advantages to containerisation, both in terms of transit speed and safe delivery.

“Historically, RORO has always been the dominant option for shipping vehicles in volume, but in more recent years, containerisation has emerged strongly as a viable alternative,” says Paul Donaldson, Managing Director of leading racking systems manufacturer, Trans-Rak International. “This new report demonstrates where the numbers clearly add up for containerisation and confirms that it makes commercial sense for carriers and carmakers to take a more strategic view, rather than simply defaulting to RORO.”

Presented as an academic dissertation to the World Maritime University in Malmӧ, Sweden, by Sean Xu, Evaluation of Shipping Finished Automotive in Multimodal Containers*, examines the logistics of door-to-door automotive transportation, investigates the gains and ‘cost per car’ of RORO compared to shipping cars in containers, and highlights the important role played by flexible, re-usable racking in making the case for containerisation.

The report confirms that when it comes to shipping a consistently large quantity of vehicles in regular slots, RORO may still fit the bill; however, where there are changes to schedules and fluctuating volumes, containerisation often proves more the convenient and cost-efficient choice. Larger RORO vessels must follow deep sea routes, travel more slowly and there are fewer ports with RORO terminals. In contrast, container ships have more frequent sailings, with quicker transit times and a wider choice of ports.

Clearly, containerisation is usually the best option for high value vehicles which need to be delivered from A to B in pristine condition. In a RORO environment, vehicles are subject to considerably more handling in the course of being driven on and off deck and therefore more vulnerable to damage. This, added to constant exposure the elements throughout the shipping process, means that even for mass market vehicles, it is essential to factor in additional costs for damage repairs as well as time lost through subsequent delays in transit.

Wooden systems are still widely used to ship cars in containers, but these are relatively expensive to build, often not reliable or safe and are for single use only. By switching to steel systems which are flexible, robust and re-usable, significant cost savings begin to kick in, even after factoring in the initial outlay and product training. According to Paul Donaldson, racks manufactured for shippers almost ten years ago are still in continual use.

Not only is the cargo protected, more cars can be fitted into each container, loading and unloading is much quicker and the racking can be dismantled for the return journey, fitting 65 pods in each container.

Summing up Paul Donaldson says: “It’s great that an independent assessment comes to the clear conclusion that RORO is not always King; where safe and secure delivery, speed of transit and final destination are prime considerations, cars in containers is the way to go.”

*Trans-Rak International is quoted as a reference source.

Cotswolds local Graham Jones has released a second children’s book, Time Travelling Toby and the Battle of Trafalgar, following the outstanding success of his first book.

Graham, who lives in Winchcombe with wife Keston and three young boys, has been delighted with the response to Time Travelling Toby, he says, “As a father I knew that there was a place for a different kind of book, one that children would enjoy but could also educate about key historical events in an entertaining way.

“I love history, and I love passing that passion on to others – the interaction we have had with children when we have taken the books into schools and presented our workshop at festivals has been amazing.

“It’s a fun way of learning about important historical events. Children love playing pretend, and what’s more exciting than pretending to travel in time?” Graham enthuses.

Graham is loving his new role as an author and has written and self-published the books outside of his day job. Having spent his working life in KBB sales – Graham is currently Marketing Director for Mereway – writing is a bit of a departure from the norm, but he says it’s the fulfilment of a long held ambition.

“I love history and literature, so publishing the Toby books has been truly amazing,” Graham comments. “The first book is selling really well and we can’t wait to take this second book out on the road.  We have an interactive presentation and workshop which we will be taking around local schools.”

Leamington Spa based Modern Homes has been nominated for two local business awards this month.   The family business which celebrated 45 successful years of kitchen and bathroom retailing last year has been nominated as a finalist in the Small Business of the Year category for Touch FM’s Pride of Warwick Awards and The Federation of Small Businesses Real-Life Entrepreneur Awards, in Coventry & Warwickshire.

The Pride of Warwick Award is a hotly contested award, with the judges looking for a clear business plan, the ability to demonstrate achievement of business objectives, and a strong understanding of customers’ needs.

The Real Life Entrepreneur Awards have been designed by the FSB to raise the profile of small businesses and to highlight the crucial role that they are playing in kick-starting and supporting the UK economy in the current economic crisis.

Modern Homes owner Tina Riley says that being shortlisted for these two awards is a wonderful acknowledgement of all the work she and the Modern Homes team put in: “We have had an incredible couple of years, the business has been growing rapidly, and we’ve had some fantastic feedback from our clients,” she says.

The winners of The Pride of Warwick Award will be announced on Friday 4th July and the FSB Real Life Entrepreneur Awards on Friday 18th July.


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