Do shipping containers leak? Discover the truth here.

Yes, shipping containers do have moisture problems. In fact, it’s a common issue for both shipping containers and storage containers that are left outdoors for long periods of time. Here are some reasons why:
  • Temperature changes: Shipping containers can experience drastic temperature changes during transportation or when left outdoors, causing moisture to develop inside the container.
  • Humidity: Containers stored in areas with high humidity levels are particularly susceptible to moisture problems.
  • Leaky containers: Containers that have cracks, holes, or other damage can allow water to seep inside.
  • To prevent moisture problems in shipping containers, it’s crucial to take a few precautions:
  • Before loading cargo, ensure that the container is clean and dry.
  • Properly seal any holes or cracks in the container.
  • Consider using desiccants or other moisture-absorbing materials inside the container to help reduce humidity levels.
  • If possible, store the container in a dry, temperature-controlled environment to prevent extreme temperature changes and high humidity levels.
  • By following these tips, you can help prevent moisture problems in your shipping or storage containers, and keep your cargo and goods safe and dry.

    Understanding Initial Container Moisture

    Initially, brand new shipping containers are being manufactured with anti-corrosion paint to prevent moist and dampness. However, during transportation and handling, targeted scratches or punctures in the metal film were found to cause a breakdown in the paint and eventually lead to moisture buildup inside the container. In addition, wooden flooring may also absorb moisture, turning into a hotbed for mold, mildew, and fungi growth.
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    Causes of Condensation in Shipping Containers

    Condensation is a common problem in shipping containers, especially during long shipments across salty oceans or high humidity areas. It occurs when air vents or insulation in the container fail to absorb or release internal or external hot and cold temperature changes, causing moisture to form on the metal ceiling and walls. This internal moisture buildup is further exacerbated by any moisture present from the cargo being shipped, including food items or liquids. Did you know that one container of bottled water could produce more than one gallon of water vapor inside the container during transit?

    Effects of Moisture and Dampness on Shipping Containers

    The effects of moisture and dampness in shipping containers can be devastating, not just for the cargo being shipped but also to the container itself. Moisture buildup can cause damage to the paint and metal, thereby encouraging rust and corrosion, as well as increasing the risk of mold and fungi growth. In addition, dampness in the container can also cause wooden floors to warp. If this occurs, a lot of money will be lost in terms of cargo that is no longer safe for transport, as well as costly repairs to the container if it needs to be refurbished or replaced.

    Ways to Prevent Moisture in Shipping Containers

    To prevent moisture from developing inside shipping containers and causing potentially severe damage, several strategies can be implemented. Here are some of the most effective methods of preventing moisture:
    • Proper ventilation: Ensure the container has adequate air vents to allow for air circulation
    • Insulation: Insulating the container can regulate internal temperature, ensuring there are no hot or cold spots that can cause condensation
    • Desiccants: Adding moisture-absorbing materials like silica gel packets or charcoal can help to absorb excess moisture present in the container
    • Dehumidifiers: Installing an electric dehumidifier can reduce the humidity level inside the container. This is especially useful during long shipments
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    How to Handle Moisture Issues in Shipping Containers

    If moisture is already present in the container, it is essential to handle it immediately to prevent costly damages. Here are some steps to handle moisture issues in shipping containers:
    • Assess the damage: Check the cargo for any water damage. If it is present, take necessary action to prevent further damage
    • Remove excess water: Use a towel or a wet-dry vacuum to remove standing water from the container
    • Install dehumidifiers: If water damage is present, it is essential to install dehumidifiers to prevent mold or fungi growth from developing inside the container
    • Replace damaged items: Any water-damaged cargo should be discarded properly and replaced

    Best Practices for Maintaining Dry Shipping Containers

    To maintain a dry and moisture-free container, it is necessary to follow some best practices.
    • Regular inspection: Conduct regular inspections of shipping containers before and after transit to check for any moisture buildup or cargo damage
    • Regular cleaning: Regular cleaning of containers can help to prevent mold and mildew growth
    • Using high-quality paint: Investing in high-quality paint that can withstand the harsh conditions of transportation
    • Proper storage: Proper and organized storage of cargo in shipping containers can prevent damage from shifting during transit and reduce the risk of moisture-related damages


    In conclusion, shipping containers are prone to moisture and dampness problems, which can cause significant damage to not only the cargo inside but also the container itself. However, adopting preventative measures such as proper ventilation, insulation, and absorption materials can significantly reduce moisture buildup in shipping containers. Regular inspection and maintenance can also go a long way in preventing moisture-related damages.

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