Industry Highlight: The RO-RO Market Rolls on
The Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) Market, like many other industry markets, was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. However, after a turbulent year the Ro-Ro market is showing signs of a steady and encouraging recovery. While the market isn’t back to its pre COVID-19 status, there are still a few reasons to be optimistic about its recovery and future growth.
European Markets Steady
Before the COVID shutdowns, European Ro-Ro markets were already struggling, partially due to heightened regulations and increased rules on emissions. That slight decline, combined with the dramatic reductions in demand in the second quarter of this year led to a market decrease by as much as 30% compared to last spring.
However, since June this year, there has been a steady rise in Ro-Ro shipping and industry experts anticipate that by the end of 2020, the market will have returned to pre-COVID levels. Also fueling the optimism for the market is the fact that vehicle manufactures are planning to make affordable, hybrid car models. Vehicle manufactures are being incentivized by government assistance to encourage zero-emission cars. Ultimately, uncertainty still lingers as questions about future waves of COVID-19 and consumer confidence in the new vehicles remain. That being said, there’s still reason to believe that Ro-Ro markets will continue to rebound, led by recovery in the automotive industry.
North American Markets Similarly Show Encouraging Signs
Ports in eastern United States were similarly impacted by the shutdowns last spring. The Port of Baltimore, normally the busiest US port for auto and high-and-heavy cargo, saw a staggering 32% decline in automobile imports and exports and a 64% decline in high-and-heavy cargo during the first half of 2020.
Luckily, things turned around in July this year as there was a 55% jump in auto volume and a 14% jump in the high-and-heavy volume. Auto shipments are recovering faster than equipment and industrial shipments in North America, similar to what we’ve seen in Europe.
In addition to seeing an increase in volume, east coast ports are noting that vehicles are being picked up by dealerships quicker than they were earlier in the year. Furthermore, major auto manufacturers like General Motors, Volkswagen, and Tesla are planning for increased demand in the coming months.
Ongoing Progress in Mobile Bay
A new port under construction in Mobile, Alabama, is another important update for the Ro-Ro market. The $60 million terminal which began construction last year is expected to open early in 2021. The Ro-Ro port will have the capacity for 150,000 rolling stock annually and a 45,000 square-foot processing facility.
This terminal is particularly encouraging for auto manufacturers because it has access to class one railroads and two interstate systems while also being close to Honda, Hyundai, and Mercedes plants.
After a dramatic decline from March to June, there are finally reasons to be optimistic about the state of Ro-Ro markets. For help or questions about your Ro-Ro shipments or any logistic related concerns, contact one of our experts today.