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Chain test: the effect of moisture on paper and how to prevent it Article Rating

Chain test: the effect of moisture on paper and how to prevent it

Paper cannot be ignored from our daily lives. We use it in countless ways — newspapers, books, coffee filters, baking paper, puzzles, gift paper, toilet paper, memos, money, packaging of (online) purchases. Paper and cardboard prove their value every day, and we often use the products without thinking about it.

Paper and moisture do not get together

The fact that paper is sensitive to damp conditions is clear to everyone. After contact with moisture, drying is no longer useful, and the paper can usually no longer be used. In the logistics chain, we often deal with paper products. Think of packaging materials and cardboard boxes, but indeed also of paper as a trade product. During transport and storage, the material is often exposed to moisture, causing loss. The loss has an impact on chain efficiency and takes time by settling with the insurance company and reorganising transport. It also affects customer satisfaction, because how much confidence does the customer have after damaged transport? And what consequences does this have for long-term cooperation?

Sea transport paper from Europe to Asia

That moisture and paper do not go together, one of our customers has experienced personally. Often they were faced with damage due to moisture problems during sea transport from Europe to Asia. There appeared to be a need for more insight into the conditions during this type of shipments and the impact of the use of desiccants in the container. To provide this insight, a chain test was performed on sea transport of 54 days.

Moisture content before transport

Before transport, the amount of moisture is measured in the container floor and the wooden packaging in the container. This turned out to be too high. Moisture in the container floor is caused by, for example, the cleaning of a container. Moisture in the pallets is caused by, for example, being placed outdoors in the rain. Only this moisture content can lead to damage. It is therefore of great importance to ensure that the container and pallets are dry before the products are loaded. The 20ft test container is equipped with data loggers that have monitored the temperature, RH and the dew point during the entire transport. Six pieces of desiccants (Absorpoles) have also been added to the container.

The results

Based on the results, it was concluded that this transport would undoubtedly have arrived damaged at the final destination without the addition of desiccants. The six desiccants have absorbed no less than 4.6 litres of water from the air. The percentage of moisture in the container floor turned out to have dropped from 25% to 8% on arrival. We recommend keeping the air humidity below 65% on average. When this is higher, there is a chance that mould will develop on the products and pallets. When the humidity rises to 100%, container rain is created, which ultimately makes the paper unusable.

Desiccants necessary to prevent damage

Without desiccants, the humidity in the container would have been much higher, with the chance of container rain and damaged products. The test results show very clearly that desiccants are needed during this type of shipments to counteract those conditions where moisture and damage can occur.


The Absorpole has an absorption capacity of approximately 150% (1.8 litres). In the container, the average absorption of the desiccants was 64% and the total absorption around 4.6 litres. If our customer would routinely use desiccants. And ensure that the container floor and pallets contain less moisture, four Absorpoles would probably be sufficient to get an absorption capacity of 7.2 litres. However, this test is carried out in winter when the humidity is lower. That is why in this case we recommend six pieces to avoid the risks throughout the year.












Need advice?

Are you dealing with moisture problems during transport of your products? Or do you want to gain insight into the (moisture) conditions during transport so that you can take appropriate measures where necessary? Our goal is 0% loss in the logistics chain, and we are happy to give you the right advice to reduce your degree of loss. You can contact us by telephone on +31 (0) 76 50 40 268 or by e-mail

Visit our webshop for more details about Absorpole.



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