Shipping out! How do I protect the goods?
Outbound shipping? Don't panic: in our online shop you will find both dehydrating chains for containers, which prevent among other things from the insidious phenomenon of “container rain”, and bags of silica gel or activated clay.
All of them can be used to protect goods during shipments. Here is a guide for choosing the best desiccant according to the different type of shipment.
A few questions are enough to understand how to best protect goods from humidity ...
Whole container or groupage?
Here we are with the first question: will I ship an entire container or will I do a groupage, relying on the shippers for consolidation?
Set up and protect an entire container
The full container (or more full containers) is the choice of those who make very high shipping volumes. In this case, the shipper will deliver me an empty container (or more empty containers) which I will be responsible for filling.
Once full, I will close the container, seal it (also by affixing simple stickers that will act as a "guarantee seal") and have it collected by the courier. Ready for departure!
It is therefore easy to understand that the protection of what is inside the container in this case is under my full responsibility. The courier will not even open what I have sealed ...
It is my responsibility, for example, to arrange the packages, to secure them, and it is even more my responsibility to protect them from humidity.
This is the typical case in which dehydrating chains, also called container bags, are used. They serve, in fact, to prevent the famous container rain.
What is "container rain"
Imagine a journey of many months, perhaps to Asian areas, perhaps followed by other months of storage in an open yard, with the container completely sealed but exposed to all weather.
When temperatures rise, the humidity naturally present in the air of the container, in the packages, in the goods contained therein, tends to evaporate. When the temperatures drop again, it condenses along the walls and roof of the container, ending up ... making it rain inside the container!
Protecting the goods from “container rain” is therefore very important: it prevents the packages from getting wet in a serious way, and with them the goods inside them. Even just finding illegible labels because they have been ruined by the rain is a big damage, since it can make it impossible to deliver it to the correct recipient.
How dehydrating chains, or container bags, work
The dehydrating chains are composed, in extreme synthesis, of:
- Calcium chloride, which has a much higher absorbency than silica gel (but which, unlike silica gel, releases an irritating leachate as it absorbs water).
- An absorbent material, often gel or plant-based materials, which absorb most of the leachate preventing damage to the container or goods.
The packages must in any case be adequately protected (even the classic nylon or polyethylene sheets are enough) to prevent a few drops of leachate escaping from the chains from damaging them, especially if the journey is very long.
To see costs, formats, technical details of the dehydrating chains for containers, visit our shop on the page dedicated to dehydrating chains for containers.
Barrier material or protective sheets for groupage shipments
The alternative to shipping full containers is consolidated or groupage shipping.
In this case, I will deliver my packages to the forwarder and he will arrange them in his own container, together with those of other customers. The forwarder cannot be expected to be interested in how to protect the goods from humidity: I will have to move independently, working on the packaging.
Depending on the case, I can use simple protective polyethylene sheets or the most effective barrier material.
How to prepare packages for groupage
There are more or less efficient protective materials, but obviously the best ones also have higher costs. That is why, therefore, several factors must be carefully evaluated before making a choice.
The first things to consider are, of course, the duration and methods of the trip.
A week-long trip presents limited risks, of course; a ship trip lasting several months, perhaps through tropical or subtropical routes, is another matter entirely.
The second factor is the type of goods we are shipping: the cost, the delicacy of the products transported.
In some cases, a lighter protection will suffice, while in others the packages must be perfectly sealed and equipped with anti-humidity materials inside.
The aluminium barrier material: the most effective protection
The aluminized barrier sheet is an extremely valuable product, a multi-layered metal foil that protects both from humidity and ultraviolet radiation: it is used, in fact, even for extremely sensitive goods.
It is used to coat the packages, completely isolating them. In order to close it you need a special tool, a self-sealing pliers.
Closed in the barrier material, the neck is perfectly sealed and protected. Depending on the type of goods transported, however, it might be useful to insert common silica gel or clay bags inside to avoid problems with humidity.
To see costs, formats, technical details of the barrier material, visit our shop on the page dedicated to the aluminium barrier film.
The other protections
There are many different types of protection available on the market:
- normal cellophane
- shrink films
- stretch films.
They obviously have different protection capacities: it depends not only on the thickness, but also on the material.
However, they have a more limited protective capacity: common packaging plastic, cellophane or other light plastics in fact slow down the effects of humidity, but do not block them.
Where the barrier material allows the goods to remain protected and unaltered even for a year, a common cellophane film will guarantee a shorter duration ... but, in addition to protection, the costs are also decidedly lower.
Everything is, as always, to understand what you need in your case considering all the variables: type of shipment, value and delicacy of the goods, type of journey, overall duration between travel and storage.
As always, we are at your disposal to guide you towards the best solution for your needs.
Contact us for information >>> firstname.lastname@example.org