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All You Need To Know About Shipping Container Desiccant

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If you are dealing with shipping containers, you know the struggle to keep the contents of the shipping container, clean and dry throughout their transit or storage period, so as to not damage the products or the sensitive contents of the container. Thus, it is primarily essential to use a shipping container desiccant to safeguard the container/cargo constituents.

Any frequent changes in moisture and humidity levels inside the container cargo can lead to damage of goods & products, formation of mold and bacteria that may grow on the cargo capacity, and deteriorate the quality and effectiveness of the products stored, packaged, and in transit via the shipping container.

Shipping container desiccants are porous, highly adsorbent materials that absorb moisture from the air and the surroundings to keep the moisture or humidity levels low, and your cargo dry while it's being shipped. These dryers or shipping container desiccant materials are especially important when you're shipping products over a long distance or across different climates/sea environments, because when the temperature and humidity change, condensation can build up easily inside the container, and cause catastrophic damage to goods.

Shipping container desiccants are available in a variety of forms, including desiccant bags, canisters, and hanging bags. They are generally made from adsorbent desiccant materials such as silica gel, calcium chloride, and activated alumina, and are used differently according to their application. Each type of desiccant has its own advantages, applications, and uses, so it is important to choose the right one for your shipping container needs.

How do shipping container desiccants work?

Shipping container desiccant bags are highly effective in controlling the moisture levels of the container and its surroundings, as they are capable of both absorbing and retaining water vapor/moisture, thus avoiding damage to the cargo contents.

Once the moisture has been absorbed, the desiccant dryer will become heavier, and saturated with the adsorbed moisture. So, it is essential to inspect the desiccation bags regularly and replace them if they have become saturated or full of moisture, by reusing them or replacing them frequently.

The quantity of desiccation material in desiccant bags that may be required for the shipping container will depend on the size of the container, and the nature of the items that are being shipped, and should be inspected regularly to ensure that it has not absorbed excessive moisture.

The different types of shipping container desiccants

- Silica gel is one of the most commonly used and popular desiccant dryers, which is highly porous in nature and is composed of tiny, porous beads that are capable of adsorbing moisture effectively from the surrounding environment. Silica gel packets have a non-toxic, and non-reactive composition and is also chemically stable in nature, thus making it suitable for a variety of cargo container storage types, such as electronics, textiles, and pharmaceuticals packed material.

- Calcium chloride desiccants are known for their exceptional water-absorbing capabilities. They thus are suitable for high-humidity conditions such as sea containers, shipping various sensitive products and devices, or taking longer transit routes via shipping. Calcium chloride desiccants can be found in various packaged types, including hanging bags and canisters, that are used for shipping perishable goods like fruits, vegetables, or seafood.

- Molecular sieving desiccants are composed of artificial zeolite materials that are highly efficient in the absorption of water molecules in packed material, which makes them an ideal choice for applications that require low humidity levels, such as those found in electronic devices and sensitive electrical parts.

- Activated carbon desiccants can not only trap moisture and humidity, but can also efficiently soak up any foul odor, and VOCs. They are usually of desiccator use to keep moisture away from delicate items like artwork, antiques, and electronics that are stored in the shipping container.

- Sometimes, clay desiccants are also used in some applications to keep moisture away from any sensitive container products, and are also available easily, as they are also non-toxic and biodegradable in nature, and are essentially made from naturally occurring clay minerals. 

Selecting the right desiccant for your shipping container needs

  • When it comes to selecting the right desiccant packed material for your shipping container, you need to first consider the size of the container you want to maintain and manage the existing moisture and humidity levels of. Larger containers may require more desiccant material to maintain the desired humidity levels on a continuous basis.
  • You must consider the nature of the cargo/shipment you are shipping and handling. A few perishable goods like food products or sensitive electronic devices may require different desiccant varieties.
  • Check the humidity levels during transport and across various sea environments. If the container is placed in a humid place like the tropical region for example, you can consider calcium chloride or clay desiccants.
  • The duration of the trip and the length of time the cargo storage should be considered when choosing the suitable desiccant adsorbent packaging material. You can also use reusable desiccant materials or big desiccant packs and hanging bags for this purpose.
  • When using shipping container desiccants, make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions/guidelines given for the packaging material, as this will make sure the dryers are used efficiently, correctly and safely throughout the shipping journey.
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