By: Don Hardy

Occasionally we see containers that arrive and the cargo inside is all wet with unsightly blotches of mold.

You find that there are no holes in the container, the container is a completely sealed, undamaged and clean unit. Yet the interior of the container and your cargo has wetness, mold and mildew on the boxes. Water / condensation rains down from the ceiling of the container.

What is to blame?

If your containers are loaded in a warm tropical environment (ex China, India, Vietnam) where the air was humid and warm, then shipped to the United States, where temperatures were far cooler, your cargo may have experienced a problem called “cargo sweat” or “container rain.”

 Inside container rain drips down on boxes 

A container is a closed system with its own unique climatic system inside. It differs from a warehouse in that the variations in temperature are usually much greater. It is not unusual to have containers where temperatures range from freezing to over 50° Celsius (122° Fahrenheit) during the course of a single voyage.

The central fact is that warm air can hold more moisture than cold air. That means that if warm air is cooled, it becomes more humid. If it is cooled enough, some of the moisture may rain out and condense. This is exactly the same phenomenon that causes dew in the grass or fog on a cool day.

The resulting damage may not be covered by filing a cargo claim with the carrier.

 An example of cargo “sweat” appearing on the inside of a container 

Possible Solutions:

1)     If possible, load containers inside warehouse when cooler or in air conditioned low humidity environment.

2)     Never load containers in rain or drizzle.

3)     Use Container Desiccant to wick moisture from the air


Most desiccant manufacturers have guidelines for their products that will help you determine the type and number of units to hang inside of the container.

4)   Consider / request ventilated containers. These are typically used for coffee beans etc. but are based upon availability.

Why does this happen?

The Relative Humidity (RH) is a percentage measure of how much moisture the air holds, as compared to the maximum amount of moisture air at that temperature can hold. That means that completely dry air has a RH of 0%. The RH can never be more than 100%, or any excess moisture will rain out. There is little risk of damage to any cargo if the RH is below 50%.

The humidity changes when the temperature does.

 Relationship between Temperature and Humidity

In a container, a fast temperature change of 5°to 10° Celsius is often enough to cause problems. Water will condense on the coolest available surface, which usually is on the container ceiling or walls. From there it may drip down onto the cargo and cause damage, also known as container rain. At other times it condenses on the cargo, say on the inside of the pallet wrap, also known as cargo sweat, which is usually even more damaging.




Even without any condensation, elevated humidity over a period of time is sufficient to cause damage. Many metals will corrode or discolor at a rather modest level of humidity of 60% to 70%. At higher levels of humidity, above 80% molds can grow, labels peel and corrugated boxes start to soften.

It is important to realize that the humidity of the air changes only as a result of the change in temperature. When air cools it becomes more humid, even though the moisture content in the air remains the same.

The humidity in a container will go up and down throughout the voyage, as a result of changing temperatures. If the temperature changes rapidly enough there are sure to be moisture risks, even if the container may be fairly dry.

In a container, moisture evaporates into the air during periods when the container is warm. The warm dry air can accept a lot of moisture. Warm moist air from the outside can also enter into the container through container breathing. When the container cools down, that air becomes very humid. This is when the risk for moisture damage increases. 

But the temperature does not only have to change over time to make a difference. It is also risky when different parts of a container are at different temperatures. When warm air moves into a colder part it becomes humid and perhaps even condenses moisture. Tons of moisture can be redistributed within a container during a voyage through such processes. Strange patterns of damage may arise, such as mold only in certain parts of the cargo.

Please feel free to share this information with your factories and overseas partners. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Don Hardy (

Sources: 1,2,3,4

Volume 2, Issue 34, July 17 2017

This week’s articles:

  • COSCO to Buy OOCL
  • Record Summer Projected for Imports
  • Shipment Delays Due to Fires in British Columbia
  • Idle Vessel Fleet Shrinks
  • Long Beach Records Second-Best June
  • Air Freight Surges at London Heathrow


17th –Marine Day (Japan)
18th – Constitution day(Uruguay)
20th – Declaration of Independence (Colombia)
21st – Independence Day(Belgium)


Last week, COSCO Shipping Holdings offered to buy Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) for $6.3 billion, marking a new chapter in the industry’s ongoing carrier consolidation. Pending regulatory approval, the entity would have more than 400 vessels with capacity exceeding 2.9 million TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units). Click here to read more.

Record Summer Projected for Imports

According to the latest Global Port Tracker report, container imports at major U.S. retail gateways are expected to reach record highs this summer. Import volumes at ports measured by the Global Port Tracker are expected to expand 5.1 percent in July and 2.2 percent in August. Click here to read more.

Shipment Delays Due to Fires in British Columbia

The Canadian province of British Columbia is currently under a state of emergency due to wildfires. Please note that shipments transiting western Canada could be delayed because of the fires. Click here to read more

Idle Vessel Fleet Shrinks

According to Drewry Shipping Consultants, the idle containership fleet has decreased from 1.7 TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) in November of 2016 to 474,000 TEUs in June of 2017. Drewry attributed the Hanjin Shipping fallout as a key reason for the decline. Many units that were idled in the aftermath of the Hanjin bankruptcy have since been scrapped or picked up by new owners and operators.

Long Beach Records Second-Best June

During the month of June, the Port of Long Beach handled 658,727 TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units), making it the port’s second-best June in history. For the quarter, the port stated that total cargo throughput increased more than eight percent.

Air Freight Surges at London Heathrow

Air cargo traffic at London Heathrow soared 13.4 percent year-over-year during the month of June. As Europe’s fourth-largest air cargo hub, it handled 142,349 tons. North America remained as Heathrow’s top market with volumes up 15.8 percent compared to 2016. Click here to read more.


Wilbur Ross, U.S. Secretary of Commerce (far left), Michel Wouters, WWL Account Executive (left center), Richard Lazaroff, Chief Operating Officer (right center), Kenneth E. Hyatt, Acting Under Secretary for International Trade (far right)
PARAMUS — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today presented Worldwide Logistics Ltd with the President’s “E” Award for Export Service at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 22. The President’s “E” Award is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports.
Richard Lazaroff, Chief Operating Officer, and Michel Wouters, Sales Executive, from Worldwide Logistics accepted the award on the company’s behalf.“Worldwide Logistics Ltd was the only logistics provider to receive the award this year. It was quite a day and honor for our company,” said Mr. Lazaroff. “Every day we see the growth of our clients’ businesses, due in large part to exporting.  This growth has enabled our clients to add jobs and support their local communities as they expand their bottom line.”

In total, Secretary Ross honored 32 U.S. companies and organizations from across the country with the President’s “E” Award for their role in strengthening the U.S. economy by sharing American ingenuity outside of our borders.

U.S. companies are nominated for the “E” Awards through the U.S. Commercial Service, part of the Department’s International Trade Administration. With offices across the United States and in embassies and consulates around the world, The International Trade Administration lends its expertise at every stage of the exporting process by promoting and facilitating exports and investment into the United States; administering Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties orders; and removing, reducing, or preventing foreign trade barriers.

U.S. exports totaled $2.21 trillion in 2016, accounting for nearly 12 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. Exports supported an estimated 11.5 million jobs nationwide in 2015, according to the most recent statistics from the International Trade Administration.

About the “E” Awards
In 1961, President Kennedy signed an executive order reviving the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America’s exporters. Criteria for the award is based on four years of successive export growth and case studies which demonstrate valuable support to exporters resulting in increased exports for the company’s clients.For more information about the “E” Awards and the benefits of exporting, visit


The Canadian eManifest regulation, the 3rd phase of the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) initiative, has come into effect beginning November 7th adding additional cargo security requirements for Canadian importers.

When fully implemented, eManifest will require carriers, freight forwarders and importers, in all modes of transportation, to electronically transmit pre-arrival information to the CBSA within given time frames. The Canadian eManifest contains many overlapping elements with the current ACI filing but expands upon many fields not previously required in reporting.

Canadian Border Service advised 3 methods of to transmit house bill and close messages: EDI, service provider and eManifest Portal. The eManifest portal is a cloud-based, free of charge, secure transmission option available on the CBSA website. Set-up for a direct EDI link requires several months of preparation and approval from the Technical Commercial Client Unit (TCCU). Third-party service providers have already been tested by TCCU and these companies appear on the CBSA website.

Freight forwarders are also required to transmit a house bill ‘close’ message once all house bills within a consolidated shipment have been sent to the CBSA. The Close message is used to initiate the link between the parent and child documents in CBSA’s system. Marine shipments must have house bill and supplementary cargo data submitted electronically 24-hours prior to loading at last foreign port while air shipments mist have the data filed 4 hours prior to arrival or at the time of departure. Rail will require eManifest data 2 hours prior to arrival in Canada and cargo moving over the highway will require 1 hour prior submission.

Up until January 10th, 2017 the CBSA will provide freight forwarders with a period of transition during which penalties for non-compliance will not be issued and the CBSA will work closely with freight forwarders on corrective measures. From January 11, 2017, to July 11, 2017, freight forwarders deemed to be noncompliant with eManifest requirements may be issued zero-rated penalties (non-monetary) under the CBSA’s Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS). Beginning July 12, 2017, freight forwarders deemed to be non-compliant with eManifest requirements may be issued monetary AMPS penalties.

In addition to any monetary penalties assessed by AMPS, failure to comply with eManifest requirements will result in cargo halted and examined at the first point of arrival in Canada as opposed to other CBSA examination that can be conducted at an inland CBSA office or approved inland destination.

For more information about eManifest compliance and how it will affect your Canada-bound cargo, please contact your local Worldwide Logistics representative.