Suez Canal Blockage: How to Protect Commodities in Transit
Satellite image (c) 2021 MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES VIA AP
Shipping trade lanes play an important role in allowing countries to conduct trade in everything from crude oil to consumer goods to electronics and agricultural commodities. Cargo ships constantly navigate the world's seas and oceans to meet global demands, which can take several weeks, if not months, to arrive. During this time frame, it's common to encounter problems.
Recently, a massive container ship called The Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal, one of the world's busiest trade routes and the gateway for goods movement between Europe and Asia. The blockage lasted for six days, causing port congestion, delays in the delivery of goods, and the rerouting of other ships, incurring huge costs for many companies.
The congestion in the Suez Canal caused major grain shipments to the United States to be halted at sea. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and vessel data analyzed by Bloomberg, "More than 80% of the impacted grain shipments are corn, with close to 60% of it on six vessels headed to China. At least one vessel, the Ledra, hauling corn to Vietnam, recently diverted toward the Cape Route around South Africa."
Although the incident has now been resolved, the unexpected shutdown had an impact on global trade and economies, as well as bringing an additional strain on the maritime sector that's still under pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Satellite image (c) 2021 Maxar Technologies via MSN
Prior to the Suez canal blockage, there has already been an ongoing container shortage caused by the pandemic, driving up freight prices and delaying the delivery of commodities.
Prolonged storage of dried agricultural commodities such as maize, rice, coffee, and cocoa in storage containers without adequate protection puts them at risk of being damaged. Even the slightest change can drastically reduce their value, particularly in the case of coffee and cocoa.
As a result, commodities are more susceptible to insect damage during transportation, as well as moisture damage caused by condensation inside shipping containers.
Condensation poses a serious threat to the integrity and quality of commodities. This is caused by extreme temperature fluctuations or when the commodity exceeds the critical moisture content. This can be observed when temperatures drop at night and rise during the day. Even more damaging are the temperature differences between origin and destination.
Heat and excess moisture can promote mold growth and insect infestation, resulting in quality degradation of your commodities while in transit, so keeping commodities at a safe moisture content and protecting them from absorbing moisture during transoceanic transits is vital.
Having a solution that helps secure the quantity and quality of commodities over a long period during transit is necessary. Hermetic solutions like the TranSafeliner, a container liner made of gas-tight and moisture-tight material containing a barrier layer, serves as a shell that:
1. Prevents insect infestation, by depriving the oxygen needed by eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult insects to survive.
2.Protects your goods from absorbing moisture by limiting the ambient air around the commodities, effectively reducing the risk of condensation, and;
3. Maintains the freshness and quality of commodities by protecting the taste, color, and aroma.
This means that commodities in shipping containers are safe from the hazards of mold growth and quality damage. Even insects can be controlled using the TranSafeliner in combination with carbon dioxide flushing.
At the same time, the TranSafeliner also functions as a fumigation chamber, allowing commodities to be treated without the use of harmful chemicals, eliminating insect infestation, and even being suitable for the use of organic commodities.
The TranSafeliner is installed directly into the container and requires no additional fixed structures. This saves time, labor force, and money while protecting and preserving the quality of your commodities.
The recent Suez Canal blockage highlights how unpredictable transoceanic journeys can be. It's important to ensure that your commodities reach their destination without putting them at risk of quality degradation.
Protect your crops while in transit especially during unexpected delays with GrainPro’s cost-effective hermetic solutions.
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