Packing, stowing and securing which appear safe when the container is static might not withstand the unfavorable conditions that land, sea, and air transport oﬀer. This is because cargo in a container is always subject to several forms of mechanical and climatic stress. Freight forwarding has become a complex industry with many logistics parties often handling the same container from origin until destination.
This increases stress on the handling, storage and transport cycles. For example, handling by port operations often exerts vertical acceleration that will increase stack pressure on cargoes in the containers. While at sea, container ships experience swaying, rolling or pitching due to rough weather - it causes movements of cargo and a combination of forces that lead to sliding, shocks and cargo damage. Moreover, road transport creates horizontal pressures on the cargoes due to acceleration or deceleration of the vehicle. Correct packing stowing and securing of cargoes minimize stresses on the containers during the entire intermodal run. It prevents not only cargo damage but also protects the ships’ crews, the container itself and the parties who handle it.
Condensation is also a major cause of concern for shippers. It may materialize damage in the form of corrosion, mildew, rot, fermentation, breakdown of cardboard packaging, leakage, staining, or undesired chemical reactions. It occurs in longer transport routes when there is a large variation of temperatures between the origin and destination locations. In fact, during their voyages, ships often pass through several diﬀerent climate zones.
For example, a shipment from Southeast Asia, where the ambient temperature and relative humidity are high, can carry a signiﬁcant amount of water inside the container, in the form of water vapor and as moisture trapped in the packaging. After arriving in Northern Europe, a region with low ambient temperature and relative humidity, water will condense and drip down onto cartons. The consequences are the collapse of stacked cartons, the spill of contents and destruction of goods. The use of shrink-wraps or protective ﬁlm in packing helps cargo be waterproof to avoid condensation damage.
During product development, manufacturers often place much emphasis on packaging as the way to build up a favorable image to consumers. They do not take into account the whole supply chain with complex cycles of storage and transportation. Since cargo damage often occurs during transport, good packaging design is essential to help protect cargo along the way, not just to promote it.