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The Risk of Heat Damage to Cargo

Heat damage to cargo is a widespread problem, leading to billions of dollars in direct losses.

In fact, an investigation from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) found that as much as 20% of perishable goods are damaged by poor cold chain practices.

This means that high-quality thermal packaging is essential for shippers to protect goods at every stage of the supply chain from extreme temperatures and fluctuations.

Check out our guide to understand the key stages of shipping in which the risk of heat damage to cargo is increased.

The Damage Caused by Shipping Container Temperatures

Shipping container temperatures can often reach 60°C, as the metal walls heat up when exposed to direct sunlight. The flipside is seen at night as the temperature cools. 

It isn’t just these extreme highs and lows that are a common source of heat damage to cargo, but also temperature fluctuations that can affect on the integrity of goods.

This risk is amplified by a myriad of factors that exacerbate shipping container temperatures. For example, the position of the container on the vessel can mean that it has a wall exposed to direct sunlight. This will experience greater temperatures than a container that is buried in the stack.

Other variables can include delays at loading and unloading, as well as the shipping routes  and time of the year.

To overcome the challenge of extreme shipping container temperatures many are turning to thermal packaging such as the Temcoat Liner to ensure that the shipping container temperatures remain stable.

 

The Problem of the Temperature Inside the Truck Trailer

It isn’t just long, international shipments that see problems with heat damage to cargo. Short, domestic freights are also at risk. 

Just as we saw with shipping containers, the temperature inside the truck trailer can be significantly higher or lower than the ambient conditions. This is a result of direct exposure of the metal walls to the elements, which will see the temperature rise during the day, and drop with the cooler periods at night.

This effect is coupled with other factors that have a direct impact on the temperature inside the truck trailer, such as heat emitted from the engine, surrounding vehicles and the tarmac from the road.

The below graph is taken from an 8-hour truck shipment of wine. In this investigation data loggers were used to better analyze the temperature inside the truck trailer. 

Even during this short time the temperature quickly shot up to around 45°C, while the conditions under the Temcoat Cover remained at a stable level around 23°C.

 

The Impact of the Asphalt Temperature During Transloading

You’d be forgiven for thinking that if you are shipping goods in temperature-controlled conditions that the risk of heat damage to cargo would be minimal. 

Unfortunately this is rarely the case. Many supply chain experts identify transloading as one of the key stages of shipping in which heat damage to cargo occurs.

One of the principal reasons for this is the asphalt temperature which can be significantly greater than that of the surrounding air.  

In fact, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) found that the majority of cases of heat damage to cargo occur at airports during transloading. 

This means that thermal packaging, such as the Temcoat Cover, is essential to ensure that goods are protected against damaging asphalt temperature. 

 

Heat Damage to Cargo in Refrigerated Transport

As we have already touched upon it isn’t just extreme high temperatures that are a source of heat damage to cargo. 

Exposure to low temperatures can be equally problematic, leading to scarring and rotting of fruits, or crystallization in wine. 

This means that goods loaded in refrigerated transport at a temperature that is below what they should be exposed to will see an increased risk of heat damage to cargo. 

This can happen when transporting different products in the same shipment with each one requiring different optimum conditions. 

Sharp shifts in temperature are also a major source of concern, and a common occurrence as cargo is shuttled between refrigerated transport and warehouses via areas that are not temperature controlled.

This also applies to goods being loaded on refrigerated transport aircrafts in cold, winter temperatures and arriving in warmer climates in just a few hours.

In these high-risk scenarios the Temcoat Box Liner is the go-to choice to ensure goods remain at stable conditions at every stage of the supply chain.