Car and vehicle trade is a component of goods being shipped internationally. Car and vehicle transportation is done mainly by the means of pure car and truck carriers (pctc), pure car carriers (pcc), roll on roll offs (roro) and roro/container ships. The difference in between these ship types can be explained as; roro's carry vehicles including trains, as conveyances of passengers or cargo, whereas in the vehicle carriers, the payload is the vehicles themselves [Lloyd's Register]. When car and vehicle trade is our scope, pcc's and pctc's are the main ship types the transportation market is focused on. When we look at the global car and vehicle transport market, we can see a figure of 9 million units being transported per annum by the end of 2003 [Seatrade, 2003]. This amount was 3 million in 1993 [Stopford, Maritime Economics], showing us a 200% increase of vehicles being traded in a decade. The market's primary transport occurs mainly in between Far East and USA and Far East and Europe. The western cars being relatively expensive according to cars manufactured in the Far East and Asian cars being cheaper for consumers in USA and Europe are the main reasons for the car trade from Asia to Europe and America. Meanwhile, there is a significant amount of demand from Far East to high and heavy vehicles such as trucks, agricultural machinery, construction machinery and car brands such as Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar [Seatrade, 1998].
The car and vehicle carrier market as stated is mainly operating in between the Far East and USA and Far East and Europe. It heads back to 1963, when the company Wallenius introduced the roll on roll off concept for ocean transport of cars and other vehicles. In 1966, again Wallenius was first to transport Japanese cars to Europe as a non-national flag carrier [Seatrade 2001]. The first occurance of car carriers were ships with decks that could fold up to allow other bulk cargo to be carreid.