Prevention of condensation in shipping containers containing bagged stored products


Abstract: There is an increasing trend in the handling and transportation of many agricultural commodities in shipping containers. At time of loading some commodities may be stored even above their safe moisture content, after several weeks of voyage the commodities arrive with water damage, even when precautions are made with desiccants and dry bags. Condensation is greater especially when transporting from warm climates to cooler ones. Once the commodity exceeds the equilibrium relative humidity of 65% moulds are activated and further enhanced. The resulting effect of this phenomenon is detrimental to the transported commodities that disqualify them of being suitable for consumption as food or feed.In the present communication the reason for such condensation was investigated on bagged groundnuts and a solution to reduce the risk was detailed. Calcium chloride was applied to in-shell groundnuts, at 8.5% moisture content (mc). In addition, condensation in containers handling cocoa beans was elaborated. To prevent mold development, cocoa beans mc should be at 6.8%. In some countries, mc of 8.5% is common and this places quality preservation of the beans at great risk of increased mould damage and corresponding increase in free fatty acids. Although, placing desiccants in the container to absorb the condensed water is common, the process of condensation is a continuous one, and water extracted from the cargo continues to be extracted by the convection currents, causing the absorbing agents to be saturated easily and thus create water damage to the commodity. To reduce such risk, use of a container size large bag named TransSafeliner (TSL) was proposed. The purpose of using a TSL is triple: it reduces the chances of condensation’ controls infestation and free fatty acid (FFA) levels.

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