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Kraft paper waxed boxes - moisture during sea shipment


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#1 PTGC

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 10:11 AM

Hi All,

 

Need help to solve this problem .

 

We have historically had no issues when we exported through reputed sea cargo , our frozen shrimp product.

 

This time the carton / boxes had visible moisture wet marks on them & product inside them (placed in smaller  boxes) spoiled.

 

We checked the data logger and it is at -17 Celsius. The temperature of product at the time of loading was at -18 Celsius. The transport company tractability showed no temperature abuse. 

 

We can't figure out what went wrong with this shipment. Any direction would help. 

 

Thanks.


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#2 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 03:15 PM

Did you check all the datapoints on the logger? What was the highest temp observed during the trip? Or do you only have two points of measurement, loading and unloading?


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#3 PTGC

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 12:44 AM

Thanks for reply.

 

We have that "one time use" paper data logger & the max temp went to - 12 Celsius.


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#4 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 03:27 PM

That's tough..best guess would be if they were moved without your logger moving at some point (like if they shared a container with other items), or if the boxes were abused prior to loading when there was no logger present.


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#5 Scampi

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 04:52 PM

Or you had a data logger that was faulty. Proof is in the product that was spoiled.....


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#6 PTGC

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 06:37 AM

Thanks Scampi...That's what is baffling us. The logger does not show any temp abuse but the frozen shrimps have thawed and boxes stained with moisture.

 

FurFarmandFork - We do not share products so container was filled with only one product. The loading was done by our own team , who have been doing it the same way for long now.

 

 

 

Is there any other reason how frozen shrimp raw can thaw inside a reefer ? The product temperature at time of loading was by sampling , so there could  be a situation where some of them had a higher temp that -18 ....but typically they recover while in reefer.

 

Is there any other way frozen product can defrost inside reefer?

 

Thanks


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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 07:15 AM

Thanks Scampi...That's what is baffling us. The logger does not show any temp abuse but the frozen shrimps have thawed and boxes stained with moisture.

 

FurFarmandFork - We do not share products so container was filled with only one product. The loading was done by our own team , who have been doing it the same way for long now.

 

 

 

Is there any other reason how frozen shrimp raw can thaw inside a reefer ? The product temperature at time of loading was by sampling , so there could  be a situation where some of them had a higher temp that -18 ....but typically they recover while in reefer.

 

Is there any other way frozen product can defrost inside reefer?

 

Thanks

 

Hi PTGC,

 

You do not mention what kind of presentation of frozen product was involved, eg blocks/IQF/semi IQF but the appearance you describe is usually a pretty reliable  confirmation IMEX. Well glazed blocks naturally tend to be relatively resistant compared to IQF.

 

Also how much quantity spoiled ?. All ? I imagine the outer stuff is logically first to go if a reefer failure.

 

Yr data (assuming legit/representative) implies the product was thawed prior/during loading. "Somehow".

 

Sounds like an interesting insurance case in the making.

 

PS - did you measure the temperature at reception ?

 

PPS - Sorry, just realised you are the shipper, not the receiver. So how confident are you that cargo was temperature OK at loading ? No further sub-transport involved prior to final inspection ?

Maybe time for a 3rd party survey at destination.


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#8 PTGC

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 09:20 AM

Thanks Charles for your response. It is indeed an interesting mystery to solve.

 

Our products were IQF Shrimps.  Not all products were spoiled , but they stopped unloading and informed us after first three lines were unloaded. Interestingly , there were some perfectly frozen unspoiled boxes & some were really thawed (Within three lines) . They were in different outer cartons though.

 

Another point that we discovered is that some of the outer cartons/ boxes were not waxed boxes , they were simple kraft paper boxes ( really thin- Customer requirement). Do you think that non waxed boxes could have made a difference? They are the only process that we changed this time around.

 

And yes they checked data logger at the time of unloading : - 17 mostly , max -12

 

We did a check during loading , sample checks on 5 boxes & these were -18 to -12 depending on the time spent out of cold room for QC check.

 

No subcontracting , our team takes care of loading & we haven't had any such issues in past. 

 

Our guess * since we can't find a legit reason * is that the defrosting took place while in reefer . We , however, can't figure out how?

 

Albeit , if it is a product freezing issue , then we have a very bigger problem at hand.

 

Request help to analysis the issue.


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#9 Charles.C

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 11:30 AM

Hi PTGC,

 

(a) I assume that any destination unloaded product which had visually thawed out (somewhere) was now fully refrozen since otherwise there would be no argument as to one origin of problem.?

(b) I do not know yr production flow, ie whether shrimp initially frozen in bulk then later packed frozen into final packaging or directly frozen in the final packaging. Traceability if required likely to be easier with latter assuming appropriate labeling on the product boxes and/or outer cartons.

(c) Are there multiple temperature readouts on logger record or just one trace ? I’m only familiar with the latter, often stuck somewhere near the air blast coil IIRC.

(d) Was the container loaded/sealed at yr factory ? “No” introduces more variables of course.

(e) Is the shrimp directly packed into cardboard box or within an inner plastic bag ?

 

 

I can only think of approx 3 theoretical possibilities depending on “flowchart”–

 

(1) Production/Freezing/Storage. Assuming the container lot has a variety of production dates and/or packing dates it is conceivable that there may have been a freezing/packing/storage “event(s)” causing certain batch(es) to thaw/refreeze prior to loading into container. This might not show until container reaching destination although one would think/hope likely to be picked up during loading.

 

(2) Loading. Some kind of event during loading stage(s), eg delay.  Also relates to (d) above.

 

(3) Voyage. The container cooling system may have sporadically failed  and/or  the data logger might be located incorrectly within container or be simply incorrect. IIRC the container supplier typically (somehow) validates the cooling temperature achievable prior to delivery to customer and records the  results. I’m not sure exactly how the container cooling system works but presumably like AC units.

 

If only the outer layers in reefer have problem and same product freezing date(s) in the inside looks OK it rather points to the reefer.

If all the product from only certain specific freezing dates has a problem regardless of container location, maybe the opposite conclusion.

Offhand, I suppose the thinner box will give poorer insulation but, IMEX,  IQF tends to get hit pretty fast in the best of circumstances. The different box style may separate the freezing dates though ?.

 

I’ve never personally met this problem so I’m not too sure how reliable data loggers / container records usually are, pretty good one would hope from an insurance POV.

 

It's a tricky one.


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#10 Charles.C

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 09:04 PM

addendum

 

One more possibility.

 

(4) Arrival at Destination  A thawing event after reaching destination, eg someone disconnecting power/time delay. This has  (equivalently) happened to me for air cargo.

 

It obviously depends on the details but IMEX some situations like this may justify hiring a 3rd party experienced surveyor simply to get at the full facts.


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Charles.C


#11 Scampi

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 03:53 PM

The non waxed thin carton will make an enormous difference in your shipping temperatures etc.  I'm guessing that you've not shipped this carton type before and therefore have not validated the process using the non-waxed thin cartons?  The wax also forms a moisture barrier that keeps cold and wet items cold and wet and helps to keep the warm dry air out.

 

I would also guess that the thin cartons were against the outside wall of the container?

 

If i were you, run a "trial" at your facility with both kinds of cartons (sacrifice one full carton in each carton type) and compare the defrost times in the same conditions (leave them in a controlled environment) and see how different the shrimp behave in each

 

Cardboard is generally a really good insulator, particularly when waxed......


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#12 PTGC

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 05:36 AM

Thanks Scampi : Could you illustrate a little more on how the non waxed box will have an enormous effect. Our customer is refusing to accept that. We need to give them conclusive evidence to ignore using similar boxes again.

 

And you are right , the ones next to the wall of the reefer are most spoiled.

 

Trail for defrost time is a good idea. Will run that. We did put the two types of boxes in reefer for two days & checked again. No sign of defrost there. 

 

 

Thanks Charles.C for the detailed thought process. I have shamelessly copy pasted most of your suggestion in my incident report. :)

There were different production dates but that has been the case with all our shipments. We never experience this drastic an effect. Could you help me more on the first point on how different production dates may have affected it.

 

We can rule out at unloading since our customer was present during unloading & not forwarding.

 

The traceability done by the shipment company shows no sign of abuse. Even if there were , i don't think they will publicize it.

 

That leave me to improve my production & loading & packaging areas. Is there any other aspect that I need to cover.

 

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts....helped me a lot.


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#13 Charles.C

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 06:12 AM

Thanks Scampi : Could you illustrate a little more on how the non waxed box will have an enormous effect. Our customer is refusing to accept that. We need to give them conclusive evidence to ignore using similar boxes again.

 

And you are right , the ones next to the wall of the reefer are most spoiled.

 

Trail for defrost time is a good idea. Will run that. We did put the two types of boxes in reefer for two days & checked again. No sign of defrost there. 

 

 

Thanks Charles.C for the detailed thought process. I have shamelessly copy pasted most of your suggestion in my incident report. :)

There were different production dates but that has been the case with all our shipments. We never experience this drastic an effect. Could you help me more on the first point on how different production dates may have affected it.

 

We can rule out at unloading since our customer was present during unloading & not forwarding.

 

The traceability done by the shipment company shows no sign of abuse. Even if there were , i don't think they will publicize it.

 

That leave me to improve my production & loading & packaging areas. Is there any other aspect that I need to cover.

 

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts....helped me a lot.

 

Hi PTGC,

 

Basically the whole thing revolves around evidence. At all stages. And financially how much of the cargo is damaged.

 

From my own experiences, you may find it worthwhile to use a 3rd party if there is a serious insurance / money issue. They have encountered most of these "mysteries" before.

 

My point about Production dates is to seek a labelling common denominator for some negative event which could have damaged specific lots, eg a power failure causing the holding of product at inappropriate temperatures. The tracing capability depends on precisely how you date label of course.

 

Just as an extreme example, one amazing procedure I encountered when auditing was/is where processing done through the day, output continuously accumulated into the freezers, latter turned on at midnight !. Saves on electric if one accepts Russian Roulette as a Way of Life.


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#14 Scampi

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 01:49 PM

https://www.ams.usda...sbyTruck[1].pdf

and

When moisture was adsorbed it released the latent heat of sorption which results in a short-term increase in packaging temperature, and effectively gave a conversion of latent heat load into sensible heat load (the effect was opposite when moisture desorbs). The latent heat of sorption was a weak function of moisture content and was only slightly higher than the latent heat of evaporation so it is a reasonable assumption to use the latent heat of evaporation only. MOISTURE SORPTION BY PACKAGING 1210-RP 135 of 188 A methodology to predict the sensible and latent heat loads due to packaging including moisture sorption was proposed. It is based on summing the effects of the different packaging components, particularly moisture sorption by wood and cardboard fibres. The uncertainty in the methodology was estimated to be ±30% in the range -40o C to +40o C (-40o F to +104o F), which is considered sufficiently accurate given the likely imprecision in key data such as RH of the refrigerated space and initial packaging moisture content, and the wide variety of packaging configurations used in the food industry.  www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Mawson/publication/228417820_Refrigeration_Load_Due_to_Moisture_Sorption_From_Food_Packaging_Materials_1210-RP/links/540da74b0cf2d8daaacc4337.pdf

 

To sum it up, the sorption of moisture causes a 'bump' in temperature.....as waxed cartons will absorb less moisture, you would expect to see less fluctuation in temperature. As you were shipping a container load.....and assuming your load went through the Caribbean at some point, where the relative humidity is high as is the temperature, and there was enough unlined boxed at the perimeter and there was not an airspace between cartons and walls of container, you would have had enough heat transfer to cause your product to thaw-which in turn would raise the temperature in the container and round and round you go......

 

 

Wax is used as a moisture barrier-----however, as there surface composition has changed, it will hold a temperature much differently than an unwaxed carton.....our holding freezer is at 28F, product is at -18F when placed in there.....as soon as skid is removed from the holding freezer...the surface temperature of the unwaxed cartons will be the same as the ambient temperature of the room within 5 minutes (i know, I have checked)

Soooo, as the unlined cartons are exposed to warm air (even if its still below freezing) the product will eventually start to thaw------as soon as the ice crystals start to melt on the surface----heat transfer will occur as an off shoot of thawing and then POOF you have a mess

 

I suspect this container load was a perfect storm of more than one error


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