2.3.10   Chemical stresses
Substances which react together and can cause damage to the cargo or its packaging are of relevance to cargo securing.
One of the most familiar chemical reactions is corrosion and goods must be provided with protection from it by a protective coating, sealed packaging or using the VCI method. However, this is not in principle the responsibility of packing or cargo securing personnel, but instead of the shipper or his packer. However, corrosion protection must not be impaired or eliminated as a result of packing or cargo securing operations. Appropriate steps should also be taken to prevent the introduction of corrosion-promoting substances into a cargo transport unit. It must not be forgotten that the salt aerosols present in sea air can have an effect on cargoes in closed containers. Unless special precautions are taken, the risk is very much greater in all open containers.
In general, this also applies to all other solid, liquid or gaseous substances which can impair the cargo in any way. To take one extreme example: even a few molecules of a chemical, e.g. a poison, could "migrate" through one physically completely tight package into another and harm the goods inside. Preventing chemical effects requires a considerable knowledge of chemistry and so is not a responsibility which can be left to loading personnel. Appropriate instructions are absolutely essential.
Simple but nevertheless very effective preventive measures against chemical stresses are:
  • Only use cargo transport units which are fit for packing, i.e. which are clean and neutral in odor
  • Do not ignore basic stowage rules, for example never stow odor-releasing goods with goods which can absorb odors, unless odor contamination can be prevented by special measures
  • Protect any chemically sensitive cargo from extraneous substances which could cause damage.
The CTU guidelines provide advice on fitness for loading. Point 2.2.4 requires:
    A CTU should be clean, dry and free of residue and persistent odors from previous cargo.
Point 3.1.4 additionally states:
    Packing should be planned before it is started. (...) The possibility of cross-contamination by odor or dust, as well as physical or chemical compatibility, should be considered.
It is generally the case for hazardous materials that compliance with the relevant hazardous materials regulations will prevent impairment of other goods.

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