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Water Damage & Container Rain on Imported Products

Water Damage & Container Rain on Imported Products

humid transport conditions can cause container rain and water damage to imported products


Have Your Imported Goods Experienced Water Damage or Container Rain?

Your shipment of apparel, footwear or other general merchandise has arrived in the U.S. from overseas. However, upon inspection you discover that your goods experienced some type of water damage or have been affected by “container rain”.

Despite the best preventative efforts of the overseas manufacturer, your freight forwarder and any other parties involved in the shipment of your goods, it’s inevitable at some point that you may need to determine what to do about goods affected by moisture or water damage.

While there are a variety of options for the supply chain team to consider, such as filing insurance claims or securing new product, another viable and potentially cost-saving sustainable solution is turning to a product repair and rework service provider who can help you recover your shipment.


What is Container Rain?

From sea to shining sea, the U.S. shipping industry is one of the largest in the world as the majority of our imported products take a lengthy journey through various climates before it ever arrives in America. These climate changes may wreak havoc on the inventory that is locked inside of the containers and can cause a variety of problems to its precious cargo.

To give you a snapshot of the inside of a container, think of a bottle of water left in your car on a hot summer day. It is usually found with water droplets formed on its walls from condensation.

This is the exact same process that is occurring inside of the locked container only on a much larger scale.

Container rain is a common term that is used in the industry referring to heavy condensation formation within a shipping container.

While the factors that can drive container rain to occur are many, some of the more common factors that contribute to moisture formation in a shipping container include:


  • Types and variety of product packaging used (eg. product may sweat within polybags)
  • Damaged containers
  • Goods were manufactured, packaged and stored in high-humidity, high-heat climates
  • Temperature changes over the long haul from tropical overseas climate to U.S. ports and distribution centers
  • Mother nature

In recent years, cargo has been increasingly departing or arriving much later than originally planned which can also lead to incidences of container rain and water damaged shipments. Unpredictability in merchandise flows and significant U.S. import surges, along with many other factors, are now regularly adding weeks to the journey from overseas factories to U.S. ports. Some experts predict the import surge and shipping challenges to continue into 2022. Increased port congestion, strained warehouses, supply/demand imbalances, and challenges overseas such as closures of factories and ports due to multiple Covid outbreaks is often creating supply chain bottlenecks and leading to ocean freight delays and timing uncertainties. For example, in the U.S. there have been regular instances of ships anchoring off the coasts waiting for days to unload cargo at busy ports. Shipments have also experienced additional delays in terminals before goods move on to distribution centers. Extended freight delays such as these can often put products at increased risk of moisture damage from container rain as goods remain idled in containers beyond original plans or expectations.


Tarnished Boxes Infographic


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Product Repair & Rework Services for Water Damaged Goods

Now that you know the why and the how, let’s talk about various kinds of product damage that the technicians at Quality Corrections & Inspections have treated. Wet merchandise for starters! In the best case, you simply have wet clothing to be laundered, reticketed, and repackaged.

That is if your quality team at the DC (distribution center) is quick to send it to QCI as fast as possible. Sometimes vendors aren’t so lucky though.

When wet product such as garments are left untreated, a variety of issues can arise. If your goods were shipped with hang tags for example, sometimes the ink from the hang tags will imprint onto your merchandise. In other cases, wet product may bleed ink colors onto each other causing the dye to migrate like a grade school art project. These are big “uh-oh” moments when discovered that usually require some decision making so time is of the essence.

If water damaged product is left unattended for extended periods of time, it may begin to develop “organic growth” (mold) and possibly odors as well.

Shoes, handbags, and small leather goods are also susceptible to the similar moisture damages resulting from incidences of container rain.

The methods and cleaning process for treating water damaged products such as these will depend on the product type as retail products vary widely in design, construction, materials, and packaging. Certain materials may require wiping applications, while others may require brushing, spraying, or swabbing for cleaning and treatment.

Shoes, handbags, and small leather goods may often require finishing after water damage or mold has been mitigated for example. In other cases, goods may have hardware components that corroded resulting in the need for replacement.

After your product rework is completed, the technicians at QCI repackage the finished job as necessary to present a factory-fresh product. Goods are properly repackaged per customer requirements that may include, but not be limited to: ticketing, tagging, folding, applying tissue paper, inserting into new polybags, repacking into specific size run configurations, and much more. When product finally arrives at its destination, it is in perfect floor-ready condition and nobody ever knows that it took a detour.


High Volume Product Repair Project Analysis & Evaluation

Your product and brand integrity are always our top priority. So, since maritime shipping doesn’t appear to be going anywhere and despite everybody working at 100% to ensure that your shipment will arrive in perfect condition, problems can still occur that result in millions of dollars of undesirable inventory that may unfortunately be considered for discard into landfills.

Product repair and rework can not only be a cost-saving solution but an environmentally friendly alternative as well.

For more than 30 years, QCI has been the recognized leader in product repair and rework with the knowledge and experience to solve most challenges.

Contact our team for a Free Project Analysis and evaluation of any repair or restoration issue you may be facing.