How Do You Keep Moisture Out of a Shipping Container?


Shipping containers can be prone to moisture build-ups when in storage or transit, and this moisture can cause damage to cargo if not dealt with.

Humidity and moisture can be caused by a number of different factors. With forward planning and an effective storage and handling system, you can keep shipping containers free of moisture.

In this article, we explain why you need to worry about moisture build-ups, and how you can keep moisture out of a shipping container.

What Damage Can Moisture Cause to Cargo in Shipping Containers?

Shipping containers – including the likes of steel drums, fibre drums, plastic containers and large intermodal containers – are all susceptible to the effects of moisture, humidity and condensation. A build-up of moisture can damage the container, causing metals to rust, plastic to slowly degrade, and materials such as cardboard or fibre to break down completely.

Perhaps more importantly, the cargo inside the containers can be damaged or contaminated by the presence of moisture, leading to unhappy customers when the goods reach their destination.

The damage that moisture can cause to cargo depends on the type of goods being shipped. For example, moisture can ruin food and drink, it can dilute paints, oils or fuels, and it can damage packaging or labelling.

What Factors Contribute to Moisture Build-Up in Containers?

There are several factors that contribute to the build-up of moisture in containers. One of the most common factors is the lack of an effective shipping container desiccant, which can help to control and combat humidity and moisture.

Other factors include:

  • Broken or damaged shipping containers
  • Exposure to leaks, flooding or bad weather
  • Incorrect storage of cargo or containers
  • Lack of ventilation
  • High levels of humidity
  • Condensation

How to Identify and Prevent Moisture

Moisture is one of the biggest worries for industrial shipping and storage companies looking to move goods around the world. Luckily, there are several ways to identify and prevent moisture from building up.

To start, you may notice that something is off with your cargo or the containers. You may notice visible rusting or damage, spot peeling labels or damaged packaging, or notice a foul, musty or mouldy smell from within. You might also notice flooding or leaking, and, if weather conditions are humid, you will want to act accordingly to prevent a build-up of moisture.  

Rather than waiting for moisture to appear, we recommend preventing its build up in the first place. There are several ways to do this, including:

  • Using an effective shipping container desiccant, such as silica gel, Absorpole or AbsorGel to remove moisture.
  • Storing shipping containers undercover, inside and in a moisture-free environment.
  • Installing dehumidifiers in storage areas.
  • Ensuring storage areas are well ventilated.
  • Inspecting containers regularly for damage or signs of moisture.
  • Protecting containers with waterproof covers.

Contact ITP Packaging for More Information on Keeping Shipping Containers Free of Moisture

Shipping container desiccant is the simplest and most effective way to keep your shipping containers free of moisture.

ITP Packaging stocks a comprehensive range of shipping container desiccant options, including high-quality products such as Absorpole and AbsorGel. Contact our friendly staff today to find out which desiccants are best suited for your business.

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