Roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) cargo imports are on a roll.
Ro-ro cargo includes high and heavy machinery, such as tractors, harvesters, mining equipment, bulldozers, trams, other rolling stock, and over-dimensional project or non-containerized breakbulk cargo strapped or lashed to trailers and transported on conventional ro-ro, vehicle, and combined ro-ro/vehicle ships. Passenger vehicles are not included in the ro-ro cargo analysis.
Topping the list, the Port of Baltimore handled 206,638 metric tons (mt) of ro-ro imports through May, a 7.5 percent increase from the first five months of 2018, followed by Savannah, which saw volume rise 13.4 percent to 134,688 mt. Third-place Galveston saw an even more significant jump of 40.7 percent, albeit from a smaller base, to 109,642 mt during the same period. Those ports were also the top three for annual ro-ro import volumes and growth in 2018, with volumes jumping 14.6 percent, 38.9 percent, and 41.1 percent, respectively.
On the export side, Baltimore handled 53,102 mt of ro-ro cargo in the first five months of 2019, up 16.9 percent from the same 2018 period; Savannah exported 26,635 mt, up 89.7 percent; while a 40.3 percent year-over-year upswing at Port Houston, to 14,793 mt, pushed it ahead of Galveston in the rankings.