Are Shipping Containers Affected by Condensation?

Shipping containers are extremely versatile and are used to store and transport countless tonnes of cargo around the world each year. Containers can also provide the perfect basis for a broad variety of conversion projects.

Buying a container is a smart investment and a steel container is one of the most durable and secure structures on the planet. That being said, you must still know how to take care of your container and protect it from damage. One of the challenges that shipping container owners may face is condensation. While condensation is not always an issue, it should be considered, as it can cause substantial damage to your unit and its contents. With that in mind, here is everything you should know about shipping container condensation and how to prevent it.

What causes condensation?

Condensation occurs when two different air temperatures meet. In most cases, condensation occurs when a shipping container cools overnight and the water inside the unit condenses and turns into water droplets. Condensation can be seen on any surface where the heat escapes, which is usually the roof of the container or at the top of the interior walls. Your container is more susceptible to condensation if you are storing damp goods inside the unit, i.e., if pallets became wet from the rain before being loaded into the container. The amount of condensation in your container will also be affected by how often the doors are opened and how often you load and unload the container. Newer containers with multiple air vents are typically less affected by condensation, but you should still expect some condensation in your container.

How can I prevent condensation?

If left untreated, condensation will drip down your container walls and cause damage to your unit. It can also damage your cargo by causing issues such as mould, warping and packaging deterioration. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to manage condensation in your shipping container and minimise the effects. Here are some of the top ways to prevent condensation in your container:

Install shipping container vents

All shipping containers come with vents to help maintain good airflow within the container. Proper ventilation helps to reduce the difference between the inside and outside temperature, which in turn reduces condensation inside your container. In some cases, the vents included in a standard container are sufficient, although you may need to take additional steps to manage container condensation.

Use a container dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is one of the most effective ways to reduce condensation, particularly if you have a serious issue with condensation forming in your container. A dehumidifier absorbs moisture from the air and deposits it into a collection bucket. This needs to be emptied regularly to avoid the moisture re-entering the air. You can either do this by hand or create a hose system that will automatically empty your dehumidifier.

Add internal container lining

You can add anti-condensation lining to the interior walls of your shipping container to absorb excess moisture and prevent water droplets from forming. Many container linings also feature insulation to help reduce significant temperature differences between the inside of the container and the outside. This helps to stop shipping container condensation from forming in the first place.

Reduce air space

The more air space you have inside your container, the more likely you are to experience condensation. For that reason, it is advisable to try and reduce the air space within your container as much as possible. So, when using your container for storage, try to utilise the available space and fill the container to its capacity. This will minimise the risk of you encountering problems due to condensation. It will also ensure that you get the most out of your purchase and maximise your investment.


Newer containers and those with more air vents are less susceptible to condensation. However, all containers are at risk of condensation damage and you should take steps to reduce the build-up of condensation in your units. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to manage condensation in your containers and boost the lifespan of your units and cargo. If you are still concerned about shipping container condensation, get in touch with our friendly team of container specialists for advice.

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