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Since shipping began, people have tried to ship almost anything. With the creation of bigger and better ships aided the shipping of larger items.

Smaller items which can be palletised is a seemingly less complicated process than dealing with bigger shipments that cannot fit into a standard 20 or 40 foot container.

Oversized shipments, or also referred to as ‘Out-of-Gauge’ cargo, can be transported in various ways depending on the size, and what item it is being shipped.

There are different ways oversized shipments can be moved, which are as follows:

Roll on/Roll off cargo: Cargo is rolled onto the shipping vessel typically referred to as a Ro-Ro vessel, which looks like a massive rectangular block. Simply put, it’s a huge multi-storey parking lot, on water. This cargo in the form of cars, busses, trucks, plant equipment etc. are generally driven the ship.

Lift on/lift off cargo: This method of shipping is exactly what it suggests it is, cargo is lifted on and off the vessel using a crane. The cargo is securely placed on top of containers. Typical cargo would be yachts or large items which cannot be driven onto a Ro-Ro vessel.   

As container ships usually have no on-board cranes or other mechanism to load or unload their cargo, they are therefore dependent on dockside container cranes to load and unload.

Flat rack shipping: Shipments which are smaller to be lifted on and off but larger than a standard container are shipped on a flat rack container. Simply put, it’s the base of a container with only the ends, and no sides or roof. Shipments like these are lifted on and off a ship as normal containers would and takes up the standard size of a 20 or 40 foot container.

“It is important with these shipments to remember that roll on/roll off shipments and flat rack shipments need to be securely tightened so as not to shift in transit. Should you require assistance with an oversized shipment, please do not hesitate to contact us” says Ryan Burgess, director of Pioneer Freight.