How Hot Do Shipping Containers Get?

#Shipping Containers • June 07, 2021 • 0 Likes

From clothing and flat-screen TVs to perishable goods and chemicals, shipping containers carry all manner of commercial and industrial products around the world—often for long stretches at a time. As these containers travel over land and across oceans, they’re inevitably exposed to different climates and temperatures.

While some products can withstand temperature extremes, more sensitive goods may not react well to blistering heat or biting cold.

Naturally, if you’re shipping or receiving goods, you may be concerned about the temperature fluctuations that occur within the walls of a shipping container—and rightly so. Consistent heat and humidity can spoil food, alter adhesives, and damage other commercial products.

So, how hot do shipping containers get inside? In this short guide, we’ll give you an idea of how hot shipping containers can get and suggest solutions for protecting your cargo from extreme temperatures while in transit.

Shipping Containers Can Reach Extreme Temperatures

To put it plainly, shipping containers can get hot. Really hot. One study of wine shipments found that containers traveling between Australia and the US reached a maximum temperature of 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) while at sea.[1]

Another study conducted by engineers at Xerox found that temperatures in shipping containers on land can drop as low as -21ºF (-29ºC) and reach as high as 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57ºC).[2] The researchers found that the greatest temperature fluctuations occur on land, though containers traveling by sea are still subject to intense heat.

What Kinds of Products Can Be Damaged by Excessive Heat?

When a shipping container’s internal temperature climbs above 86ºF (30ºC) and stays there, the products inside can sustain irreversible damage.

A wide variety of products can be damaged, spoiled, weakened, or otherwise negatively impacted by excessive heat and humidity. Some examples of items that you should avoid exposing to extreme heat include:

These are just some of the more commonly shipped items that are susceptible to heat damage. As you can see, the list includes a wide variety of consumer goods, from food to electronic devices. This list isn’t exhaustive, either; many other items can be damaged or altered by exposure to extreme temperatures.

In addition to the direct damages and spoilage caused by elevated temperatures, containerized products can suffer indirect damage from extreme heat.

The air in a container can warm rapidly, but it may not cool as quickly. However, temperatures outside the container may dip at night. When the external temperature is lower than the container’s internal temperature, moisture trapped in the air can collect on the container’s interior. Eventually, these water droplets can fall on the products inside, causing further damage.

Ultimately, importers and exporters across industries need to be conscious of the damage their goods can sustain if exposed to high levels of heat and humidity. To prevent damage and keep goods safe while in transit, organizations may need to equip their shipping containers with climate control features or other solutions that keep the interior cool.

Factors That Affect Internal Container Temperatures

Of course, not every container will reach sauna-like temperatures during its voyage. Several variables determine exactly how hot a shipping container will become. These include:

How to Keep Your Shipments Safe From Extreme Heat

Temperature fluctuations during transit are all but guaranteed—but that doesn’t mean heat damage is inevitable. With the right tools, you can safeguard your cargo every step of the way.

While your first instinct may be to order a refrigerated shipping container, you should know that powered containers are more expensive. What’s more, they can cause additional logistical headaches, especially if there’s a mechanical issue during transit.

From a cost standpoint, reusable insulative materials are the ideal choice. Some of the best options for temperature control inside a shipping container include:

To counter the indirect effects of overheating containers (like moisture damage), you can use absorbent pads and blankets to protect your goods from container rain. You can also hang desiccant bags inside the container for maximum humidity absorption.

Even if you arrange for a refrigerated container, these solutions provide an extra layer of protection.

Beat the Heat with Our Cargo Solutions

Temperatures can soar inside a shipping container, and the resulting heat and humidity can damage your products. Even a single shipment of heat-damaged goods can result in a financial loss and potentially hurt your company’s reputation. That’s why you need to take steps to protect your cargo from extreme temperatures.

At Eurolog Packing GroupWorldwide, we’re well aware of how hot shipping containers can get inside and the problems associated with uncontrolled heat. That’s why we offer a wide variety of solutions for mitigating the harmful effects of heat and minimizing the relative humidity levels inside shipping containers. We can even design custom solutions for your specific needs.

Contact us today to find out how our innovative solutions can keep your cargo safe.

Sources:

Australia New Zealand Regional Science Association International. ‘COOL OR HOT’: A STUDY OF CONTAINER TEMPERATURES IN AUSTRALIAN WINE SHIPMENTS.https://anzrsai.org/assets/Uploads/PublicationChapter/503-Marquezetalfinal.pdf

ResearchGate. ‘COOL OR HOT’: A STUDY OF CONTAINER TEMPERATURES IN AUSTRALIAN WINE SHIPMENTS. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275036120_’COOL_OR_HOT’_A_STUDY_OF_CONTAINER_TEMPERATURES_IN_AUSTRALIAN_WINE_SHIPMENTS

Australia New Zealand Regional Science Association International. ‘COOL OR HOT’: A STUDY OF CONTAINER TEMPERATURES IN AUSTRALIAN WINE SHIPMENTS.https://anzrsai.org/assets/Uploads/PublicationChapter/503-Marquezetalfinal.pdf

Transport Information Service: German Insurance Association. Container climate.https://www.tis-gdv.de/tis_e/containe/klima/klima-htm/


[1] Australia New Zealand Regional Science Association International. ‘COOL OR HOT’: A STUDY OF CONTAINER TEMPERATURES IN AUSTRALIAN WINE SHIPMENTS.https://anzrsai.org/assets/Uploads/PublicationChapter/503-Marquezetalfinal.pdf

[2] ResearchGate. ‘COOL OR HOT’: A STUDY OF CONTAINER TEMPERATURES IN AUSTRALIAN WINE SHIPMENTS. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275036120_’COOL_OR_HOT’_A_STUDY_OF_CONTAINER_TEMPERATURES_IN_AUSTRALIAN_WINE_SHIPMENTS

[3] Transport Information Service: German Insurance Association. Container climate. https://www.tis-gdv.de/tis_e/containe/klima/klima-htm/

[4] Australia New Zealand Regional Science Association International. ‘COOL OR HOT’: A STUDY OF CONTAINER TEMPERATURES IN AUSTRALIAN WINE SHIPMENTS.https://anzrsai.org/assets/Uploads/PublicationChapter/503-Marquezetalfinal.pdf

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