When choosing a container of desiccant it is important too understand the basic elements to make the best, safest and most economical choice for protecting your cargo. In a few steps we explain which pillars are important to determine the desired quality, in addition you will find a summary about the origin and the available types of container desiccants in the market.

We would like to inform you about what you should pay attention to when comparing and choosing the right desiccant product, in which we make a distinction between the actual moisture absorption and the safety that is directly and indirectly reflected in practice.


The basic principle of a container desiccant is to absorb moisture from the air. The faster and more moisture a container desiccant absorbs, the better it is for your cargo, as your aim is to keep the cargo dry until it arrives at its destination.

Practice has shown that removing a sufficient amount of moisture will no longer damage your cargo. Technically it means that the unlimited addition of container desiccants does not contribute to the solution, using to many bags or weight we call an overkill. Using a sufficient amount of container desiccants is essential and the more moisture a container desiccant absorbs, the fewer numbers can be applied which will automatically keep the costs of protecting your cargo low.

Every manufacturer of container desiccants has its own design and formula for the blended raw materials that lead to a certain volume of moisture absorption, often the performance is indicated by a percentage (%). It is important that you are not misled by such statements, because each brand has its own design that differs in weight. The result must be measured in actually absorbed moisture in liters per individual container desiccant bag.

Safety (no leaking and tearing)

A high absorption claim often sounds attractive, because you most probably assume that you will be able to protect your cargo well and may even use fewer container desiccants compared to the competition, which can achieve cost savings, but in practice this is often the opposite.

Container desiccants that absorb too much moisture also involve risks. An enormously high moisture absorption ensures that the raw materials cannot bind the moisture sufficiently, this causes the bag material to leak and tear over time because the bag material becomes saturated, resulting in the contents ending up on your cargo, causing serious damage and even health risks.

In addition, it is also a given fact that many raw materials such as clay, silica or silica gel, cocopeat (by-product of the coconut, generated from the coconut husk) and pure Calcium Chloride can moderately or not bind the moisture.

An important fact here is that the products all seem safe because the raw materials are extracted from nature (coconut from a tree, clay out of the ground, silica out of sand, etc.), it is important that you realize that the raw materials are subject to a process in which chemicals are added, these can be friendly but also harmful to your cargo.

Independent tests have shown that many container desiccants that are proven to leak contain heavy metals that are not permitted for the European drinking water standard, even the use of Vermiculite, a raw material that is often mined with Asbestos was detected, mainly in the smaller 300 to 400 gram desiccant bags offered in the market that absorb a lot of moisture quickly, because the rock-shaped material ensures spread in the blend and thus makes more room for moisture to be absorbed more quickly.

Registration of chemicals (REACH)

There is no specific quality mark for a container desiccant with the raw material Calcium Chloride.

However, a container desiccant or product containing the raw material Calcium Chloride must, on the basis of European legalization, meet the REACH requirements and have a registration issued by the European Chemical Agency, ECHA.

This is a very strict, lengthy and costly process and is often not met for products from outside the EU and even within the EU registration is not properly arranged. The risk that you as a customer run by not having a correct registered product is that the products are taken off the market and your company receives a fine for an environmental offense, this fine is imposed on both the supplier and the user on top of that the authorities may – temporarily – shut down a company on the basis of a safety inspection.

A registration is accompanied by mapping by means of lab tests, so that guarantees are provided about the raw materials used. In addition, we advise you to always provide security in terms of safety with regard to your employees and the products you want to protect, such as food and animal feed products. Many desiccants contain substances that are considered to pose a risk to public health, such as Vermiculite, Asbestos, Silica Gel, etc. Such additives are often not communicated, but they are present to increase the performance of the product.

Download: Summary Report on container shipping and desiccants.pdf

Ask anything to our expert

Roderick Bijlsma

Telephone: +31 (0)610 949 200
Email: roderick@bijlsmagroup.com