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by Kadri Haufe, Head of Smart Port Advisory

The latest trends in the world of ro-ro and ro-pax ports 

This article explores the latest trends in the ro-ro and ro-pax (ferry) ports industry, critical components of global transportation. It highlights key developments, including automation to optimize processes, digitalization for increased efficiency and sustainability, integration with other transport modes, and a focus on enhancing customer experience. Embracing these trends will position industry players for success amidst ongoing changes in the maritime transport landscape.

For a deeper dive, check out our webinar about maximizing efficiency in your port 👇

Ro-ro ports, roll-on/roll-off ports, and ro-pax or ferry ports are an essential component of the global transportation industry, handling a significant volume of goods, vehicles, and passengers. In recent years, several trends have emerged that are shaping the future of this industry. In this article, we list some of the key developments we are seeing in port operations and innovation.


The ro-pax ports industry is embracing automation to optimize processes, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Automated systems can provide services to vessels, handle cargo and passenger vehicles, transform the setup of your terminal, track and manage inventory, and even perform maintenance tasks.


Ro-ro ports are increasingly adopting digital technologies to streamline port operations, increase visibility, and enhance customer experience. Digitalization tools such as data analytics, IoT, and blockchain can provide real-time insights into cargo and passenger movements and automate paperwork, all while improving security as well.

When done right, digitalization can boost revenue, for example by eliminating revenue leakage from unpaid fees for bigger or heavier vehicles. 

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With a growing focus on environmental concerns, ro-ro ports are adopting sustainable practices to reduce carbon footprint. These include investments in renewable energy (such as shore-power), optimization of port and terminal operations in order to allow for faster turnaround time and lower sailing speeds, as well as better planning of port capacity and notification of berthing slots to allow for lower cruising speeds. 


More and more, ro-ro ports are beginning to integrate with other transportation modes (such as rail and trucking) to offer a complete logistics solution. This can help optimize supply chains and reduce costs. These integrations tend to happen through traditional methods, simply by making other transport accessible and easily available. 

Meanwhile, we are also seeing steps towards digital integrations. Most logisticians want to connect all movements of cargo – from factories through land, rail, sea, and air – to the end destination with one digital footprint. It takes new national systems, international integrations, updated regulations, and lots of change management to get here, but this is the direction the industry is heading in. 

Customer experience

With a growing competitive landscape, ro-ro and ro-pax ports are placing more emphasis on providing superior customer experiences. This includes the basics such as feeling safe and secure in unfamiliar and sometimes even stressful environments through the use of clear digital communication and personalized guidance. Ports are also making efforts to have their clients spend as little time in the ports as possible (thanks to check-in automation), and by providing convenient add-on services such as smooth border shop pick-ups.

Overall, these trends are driving significant changes to the ro-ro and ro-pax ports industry. Those who can quickly adapt to these changes and take advantage of increased digitalization will be best positioned for success in the future. 

For a deeper dive, check out our webinar about maximizing efficiency in your port 👇


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