#Shipping Containers • January 06, 2018 • 2 Likes
Each year, countless tons of cargo are stored and transported across the globe in a variety of shipping container types. In 2013, the international liner shipping industry transported around 120 million containers, filled with approximately $4 trillion worth of cargo. With so many goods making their way across the globe’s oceans each year, shipping companies are tasked with safely transporting cargo, ensuring it gets to its final destination unscathed.
Unfortunately, companies face a rather large hurdle in their transportation efforts: shipping container condensation. Moisture damage can lead to millions of dollars in losses, and have a devastating effect on your business.
Learning how to stop condensation in shipping containers can help you reduce cargo damages and improve your bottom line.
What is Shipping Container Condensation?
Shipping container condensation occurs when the walls of a container become cooler than the dew point of the air found inside the container. Because shipping containers are crafted from metal, internal temperatures can shift significantly due to weather changes and other external factors. When the container cools significantly, the air is no longer able to contain its moisture—it has reached its dew point.
Once this occurs, the moisture falls out of vapor into liquid form, which then builds and collects on the walls and roof. This condensation can drip on your cargo and ruin the container’s interior, resulting in significant losses.
Shipping condensation is also known as container rain, which can damage cargo through:
It’s important to learn how to stop condensation in a shipping container to avoid these effects and prevent your business from incurring significant profit losses.
What Affects the Amount of Condensation in a Shipping Container?
While temperature shifts are a contributing factor, learning how to stop condensation in a container means considering all of the aspects that affect moisture during transport.
The amount of condensation in a shipping container can vary based on temperature, air space, ventilation, moisture content of the goods you’re shipping, and container usage.
What Happens if You Don’t Stop Condensation in a Shipping Container
Water damage can devastate a shipment, ruining goods and affecting relationships with clients. To understand the monetary loss container sweat can incur, take a look at the example below:
Imagine you’re shipping $75,000 worth of goods in a shipping container. If 10 percent of your goods were damaged by water or moisture, you’d lose $7,500 in that shipment alone. Say 20 percent of the goods were damaged; you’d be facing a loss of $15,000. Bump that up to 50 percent—you’re going to lose $37,500 in that shipment.
While a single incidence of this type of loss can be managed, repeated losses over time can devastate a business. The proof is palpable, and cases of cargo loss aren’t isolated; according to Green Carrier, approximately 10% of all containerized goods are discarded due to moisture-related damages.
These costs can quickly add up, and significantly impact your business’s profitability.
How to Stop Condensation in a Shipping Container
While it’s impossible to completely prevent moisture buildup, there are ways to control condensation in your shipping container.
• Use the Right Pallets
Using pallets to store your goods is common practice, but it’s important to consider the moisture content found in wood varieties. The pallet industry is hard-pressed to provide pallets quickly, and this requires the use of fresh lumber—often overloaded with moisture content. If the wood is used when still wet, it can contribute moisture to the air and worsen shipping container condensation. Perhaps your pallets aren’t new, but rather made from old wood that’s been stored in cold, wet places throughout chilly winters. These pallets are likely just as laden with moisture.
Using plastic pallets may help reduce shipping container condensation, as they don’t absorb moisture in the air. If you need to use wooden pallets, be sure that these pallets are dried before loading.
• Use Desiccants
Desiccants are products that absorb excess water from the air, effectively reducing the dew point inside the container. Shipping companies often place desiccants inside a shipping container to reduce moisture that results from products, packaging, or temperature fluctuations.
Desiccants come in a variety of forms. Depending on your needs and the goods in your cargo, you might choose from the following types of desiccant:
If you’re wondering how to stop condensation in shipping containers, desiccants could be an important part of the puzzle. Desiccants can help prevent condensation buildup, but it’s important that you use the right material, and the right amount of material to properly shield your cargo.
• Consider Dehumidifiers
If you need to learn how to stop condensation in a shipping container that’s used for storage, consider a dehumidifier. If your shipping container has access to a strong power source, a dehumidifier can be used to suck the moisture from the air. Keep in mind that you’ll need to regularly empty the dehumidifier of water or set up a hose system that can plumb the collected moisture back out of the container.
• Improve Insulation
Insulating your shipping container can greatly reduce the amount of moisture in the air and prevent container rain. Container insulation can keep the contents of your cargo warmer than the dew point, which ultimately prevents extreme temperature differences that lead to condensation.
• Improve Ventilation
Proper ventilation can reduce condensation by equalizing interior temperatures with exterior temperatures. Ventilation funnels warm, moist air out of the container, while outside air with the same ambient temperature is drawn in. When interior temperatures are nearly equal to exterior temperatures, moisture is reduced.
There are plenty of ways to install ventilation in a shipping container; however, ventilation isn’t always the answer. If you’re shipping goods in areas that typically see wet conditions, ventilation could pull moist air in and make condensation worst. Avoid using ventilation as a way to stop condensation in a shipping container if you operate in humid climates.
Learn How to Stop Condensation in Your Shipping Container with Eurolog Packing Group
With a wide range of packaging solutions, we’re proud to help businesses of all sizes, in all industries, discover ways to get their goods safely from Point A to Point B. Find forward thinking solutions designed to protect your cargo around the world and let Eurolog Packing Group help you improve your bottom line.