Bagged coffee in 20-foot 'dry containers' is a major
improvement over the old break bulk method but still involves extensive handling
and does not fully exploit a container's carrying capacity. This is important as
transport and freight costs are charged per container, rather than by weight.
The cost of handling bagged cargo is also escalating continuously, especially in
When correctly lined with cardboard or sufficiently
strong Kraft paper, and if properly stuffed, standard 20-foot dry containers are
suitable for transporting bagged coffee. This is not to suggest they are
suitable for prolonged storage of coffee, because they are not. Some receivers
do specify ventilated containers for shipments from certain areas. These provide
ventilation over their entire length, usually top and bottom, but not all
shipping lines offer them. They are expensive, and at the same time more and
more coffee is shipped in bulk instead.
Bulk shipments were first experimented with in the
early 1980s. After a period of exhaustive trials, mostly on coffees from Brazil
and Colombia, the conclusion was that standard containers are perfectly suitable
for the transportation of coffee in bulk. But they must be fitted with
appropriate liners (usually made of polypropylene) and the coffee's moisture
content must not exceed the accepted standard for the coffee in question.
Some container facts:
For good overviews on container and containerisation matters go to http://www.containerhandbuch.de (English version) where a considerable variety of information is available.
*Materials other than
wood for use as container flooring are under development.