Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Moisture and Condensation as a Challenge for Cargo in Transit

One of the main problems our clients from all different industries encounter in terms of damage of cargo in transit is the moisture and condensation – especially on those shipments with long transit time. It is common practice to use moisture absorbing ‘desiccant’ bags in order to minimize the risk – but once saturated, they serve no further purpose. Also the risk is rather the condensation, which will happen depending on the dew point. Desiccant bags may marginally reduce the dew-point-threshold, but they can’t eliminate the risk of condensation.
The Relative humidity of an average shipment can easily vary between 40% and 90%. However, the up and down of the relative humidity is not always relevant and most likely will not affect the cargo as the container is a closed ecosystem.
Assuming a temperature of 11.5 °C with a relative humidity of 91% inside the container would lead to a dew point of 10.1 °C. Desiccant bags may reduce the relative humidity inside the container to 89% or 85%, which reduces the dew point only marginally to 9.8 °C and 9.1 °C, respectively.
If the outside temperature however in this example falls below 9 °C, condensation will happen and affect the cargo quality.

Attached picture shows the impact of condensation along the walls for a container full of coffee beans.
Thanks to real-time cargo monitoring, the shipper can be informed immediately when condensation most likely is happening and/or give a condensation-risk-forecast based on local weather forecast. It enables the shipper to make decisions on
  • reposition container
  • inspect container
  • claims handling
  • proactively inform client

At the same time, real-time monitoring also allows to
  • detect holes in the container, through which water can enter the container
  • improve the end-to-end performance,
  • improve the security

All this information allows to optimize supply-chain processes, mitigate future risk, reduce insurance premium and capital cost.

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