Properly securing cargo is complex enough under normal circumstances. However, thanks to modern technology and the advent of advanced solutions, the process has become easier and safer than ever before. That said, when trying to secure cargo inside refrigerated (reefer) containers, several other complexities arise.
Here are some issues to consider when dealing with load restraint for reefer containers:
Reefer containers are naturally cold inside. The actual temperature depends on the goods being transported. These temperatures can drop to sub-zero levels if the goods need to remain frozen for the duration of their transport.
Therefore, it is crucial that any load restraint systems used within such reefer containers are capable of withstanding extremely cold temperatures without becoming brittle. Various materials, such as certain kinds of plastic, rubber or even metal, can become fragile and brittle when exposed to extreme cold, making them more likely to break when impacted or placed under stress.
Thankfully, most modern load restraint technologies take this into account. For example, at X-Pak Global, our rubber anti-slip mats are rated to withstand temperatures of up to minus 30˚C without being compromised. Materials such as nylon and polyester, which are used for strapping and lashing, are also capable of withstanding extreme temperatures.
When restraining cargo in extremely cold environments, it’s vital to use the correct types of restraint systems. To ensure the cargo restraints hold throughout the journey, you need to conduct thorough research of the proposed restraint systems and ensure that they are rated to handle extreme temperatures.
One of the biggest challenges involved in transporting cargo in reefer containers is moisture control. When cargo is subjected to extremely cold temperatures, condensation inevitably forms on the goods being transported and inside the container.
If left unattended, moisture can lead to mould and mildew growth, which can have devastating consequences on the goods, especially in the case of food and pharmaceutical products that require refrigeration. The development of mould due to unchecked moisture ingress can completely ruin the cargo, leading to significant financial consequences. Thus, it’s important to ensure that any cargo restraint solutions used inside a reefer container can either withstand or resist moisture build-up without issue.
Materials such as nylon and polyester are extremely good at resisting mould, they are resistant to moisture as well. However, even polyester and nylon are not 100% immune to this problem, so it should be carefully monitored and controlled.
One of the most important technologies to assist with moisture build-up in reefer containers is desiccants. Modern desiccant products can absorb a significant amount of moisture in the air and reduce the risk of mould development inside containers.
At X-Pak Global, our Pak-Dry desiccant solutions help reduce this moisture build-up. One 500 g desiccant bag can absorb 1.5 litres of water. All you need to do is hang the desiccant bag inside the shipping container, and it will attract moisture throughout the cargo’s journey. Several desiccant bags can be used in cases where significant moisture build-up is expected.
Moisture damage does not only lead to mould and mildew; it can also cause labels to peel off and packaging to collapse or become damaged. Moisture can also lead to corrosion or rust, which can not only damage the cargo but also its restraint systems, particularly steel strapping, chains, buckles, and ratchets.
Our Pak-Dry desiccant solution uses highly absorptive calcium chloride packed into a one-way membrane that prevents leakage while allowing moisture in. As such, desiccant bags are indispensable in the transportation of refrigerated goods.
However, it is important to consider several factors when deciding on the amount of desiccant that is required:
- Calculate the number of days that the goods will be in transit.
- Understand the kind of temperature variances that the goods might be exposed to.
- Consider the mode of transport being used, as this could also affect how much desiccant might be required.
- The sensitivity of the cargo to moisture damage is also an important factor, which can vary from shipment to shipment.
Goods transported in reefer containers are inevitably perishable and therefore have inherent time pressures placed upon them when it comes to loading and unloading. Perishable goods need to be loaded into and out of reefer containers as quickly and efficiently as possible to minimise their exposure to higher temperatures that could lead to their deterioration.
Therefore, use cargo restraint systems that can be quickly applied and removed as needed. Thankfully, modern cargo restraint systems such as those offered by us at X-Pak Global are extremely efficient. When it comes to modern lashing, strapping or the use of dunnage bags, these cargo restraint systems can be quickly and easily applied and, in many cases, can be done by a single person.
With the use of these modern technologies, perishable goods can be loaded and unloaded within minutes, presenting minimal exposure risk to the product. Whatever cargo restraint solutions you choose to use inside reefer containers, their efficiency and ease of application are 2 of the most important factors to consider.
Contact the X-Pak Global team today to gain access to our robust and dependable range of solutions for reefer containers.