Making a Dry Run

Shipping in containers is an economical and safe way of shipping most types of cargo. But putting cargo into an enclosed steel box also entails a constant risk of moisture damage for almost every kind of cargo on every voyage, according to Absortech. When damage occurs, it may result in substantial losses and costs. In fact, a considerable amount of moisture damage remains unrecognized, because it is considered "normal."

Absortech recommends taking these steps to reduce the risk of moisture damage:

Ensure the container is watertight. A minimum requirement is that the container be watertight, without any risk of rain and spray. Check every container before loading. The doors are especially vulnerable to damage that may not easily be noticed.


Check the seals. Certainly no container is airtight, but a container in good condition allows only air and moisture to move in and out slowly. This significantly reduces the amount of moisture moving into the container under common circumstances.

Tape the vent holes if you are shipping a dry cargo. For a moist cargo, such as agricultural commodities, it may be better to leave the ventilation holes open in certain circumstances.

Make sure the container is dry. A container that has been washed before loading, brought in from outside to a warm loading area, or stored in a humid place, may contain a lot of water. Pay particular attention to the container floor. The humidity of the wood should not be more than 15 percent.

Ensure all pallets and other wooden dunnage are dry. It is easy to check the moisture content of the wood with a handheld moisture-reading device.

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