Is the cargo choking your desiccants? | Absortech

Is the cargo choking your desiccants?

Desiccants for shipping containers are a simple and effective way to keep your cargo dry. But bad choices can lead to inferior moisture damage prevention. But don’t worry! This blog post explains the basics of selecting the container desiccant that fits your needs.  

If you’re a manufacturer, you’re continually faced with moving your cargo along the value chain. And if you transport it in the ubiquitous shipping containers across the oceans, it can get tricky. Surely you’re familiar with the crucial aspect of moisture damage prevention.

Especially if your cargo crosses several climate zones, changes in temperature and moisture will inevitably cause so-called container rain that can run havoc with the state and quality of your packaging and, ultimately, your products. It’s a safe bet that you don’t want mold, bad smell, corrosion, or something else ruining your goods and eating away at your profitability.

Stay calm. There’s a simple yet highly effective solution. Let us explain.

Desiccants for shipping containers

Using moisture absorbers inside your shipping containers will keep your goods dry during ship transport. While container desiccants may seem straightforward enough, there are some basic requirements that you must consider to get the most out of them.

  • What you’re shipping – both the goods and their packaging
  • How the container is loaded – high or wide

Container desiccants and humans may not have a lot in common, but we both need to breathe. No difference there. To perform at the top of their game, they need to be installed correctly – which means that you give them space. How come, you may ask?

Two primary ways to install desiccants

It all has to do with desiccant design. And while there are variations, there is usually a bag that contains the absorbent agent. This bag is partly made from some breathable fabric that will let the moisture from the air in but not out again.

But if you cover the bag or it accidentally folds on itself, you will choke it. So, this is where placement comes into the equation. There are two primary ways to install container desiccants, regardless of type (see illustrations):

  • Vertically – for high loads – hanging down the container wall side.
  • Horizontally – for wide loads – on top of the packaging or along the container ceiling.


Vertically installed container desiccants

Tying this together with the points above, let’s look at some examples. A vertically hanging container desiccant is a good option if your cargo is packed in cardboard boxes or crates that are easy to bundle for a high and stabilized load – provided that you leave sufficient space between the cargo and the container walls.

The picture is showing a container with the load in the center and AbsorGel Hanging desiccants hanging from the lashing rings.

You can fix these container desiccants to the lashing rings at the top of the interior container walls or in the ceiling. They will fit snugly in the corrugated container wall, not wasting valuable space. Common vertical desiccants are rows of bags or solid plastic desiccants.

Horizontally installed container desiccants

On the other hand, if your products are loaded wall-to-wall in boxes or crates with flat surfaces, putting desiccant sheets or blankets on top of the cargo is a good option. It makes for easy installation with no extra accessories needed. To ensure performance, you can use double-sided adhesive to fix them on top of the cargo.

If you’re in the food industry and use sacks to ship your produce, it will most likely be loaded wall-to-wall, and the top surface may be uneven. This can complicate installation, and, as mentioned, if the blankets or sheets fold, it will compromise the desiccant performance.

The picture shows a container full of sacks with a high load and a zoom to the container wall showing AbsorGel Max desiccants hanging from the lashing rings.
Illustration 2: AbsorGel Max installed on a container with sacks load.

So, choosing hanging desiccants fixed horizontally to the container top wall close to the ceiling is likely the best alternative. Either way, these will take up very little space. For example, top-quality blankets need only 25 millimeters of space in the container ceiling, so you can see that this is a cost-efficient solution.

The picture shows a container full of boxes with a very wide load and a zoom to the container wall showing AbsorGel Hanging desiccant hanging horizontally from the lashing ring and an AbsorGel Blanket installed on top of the cargo.
Illustration 3: AbsorGel Hanging installed horizontally from the lashing rings and AbsorGel Blanket installed on top of the cargo.

Hopefully, you now better understand how to choose the best container desiccant for your shipments. But, of course, if you have any questions, we’re happy to help determine the best choice for you.

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