How to ensure proper rust protection of your metals during shipping?

Challenges of shipping

Shipping products, raw material and equipment from one place to the other is an essential part of industry. It not only allows for wider trade networks, but also provides industries with essential materials and products that cannot be made indigenously. Since metal shipping is such an integral and unavoidable process, there are also some challenges that come with it. Shipping can be done through air, water or land and the problems with each of these routes can differ significantly. However, one of the major concerns during shipping through ocean or sea routes is the danger of corrosion. Corrosion is basically a natural process during which a metal slowly oxidises due to exposure to elements such as water, moisture and humidity. It is the gradual destruction of the metal due to its reaction to the environmental and atmospheric factors. Corrosion severely damages the metals and the products made from metals, making them unfair for use. Therefore, if metals are corroded during the shipping process, it is a complete waste of resources and must be avoided at all costs. 

Rust prevention

Rusting is one of the most common types of corrosion that affects metals. Rusting is the process of oxidation of iron as a reaction to water or oxygen in the environment. Rust is the reddish brown layer that gets accumulated on the surface of the iron object when it is exposed to such elements. While rust is a huge problem when dealing with irons, the silver lining is that it can be prevented with proper care. Manufacturers can reduce the risk of rusting to a significant extent by controlling certain factors regarding shipping. Here are three key points to remember while ensuring rust protection during shipping: 


  • Understand the science

The first thing one must keep in mind while shipping metal is that in order to prevent rust and corrosion, you must understand the science behind it. You could consult with engineers and researchers or read guidelines regarding rust on metals to figure out how and why the rusting process happens. Similarly, you must know what kind of environmental factors are most likely to lead to rusting. Rust is predictable and preventable, with proper research. Apart from understanding the process of rusting, you must also know the environment of the shipping container. Exposure to moisture, humidity and water are a constant when it comes to sea faring. Knowing what kind of shipping containers and environment is safest for the metal is therefore a huge step towards preventing corrosion. 


  • Control the environment

Once you have completed a thorough research on the process of rusting, you should take adequate steps to make the shipping environment perfect for protection. Warm air will absorb more water and therefore be more humid. On the other hand, very low temperatures can cause condensation. Therefore the temperature inside the shipping container should be carefully set to balance these processes and ensure no excess moisture is near the product. Similarly, the conditions in which the metals are packed are very important. If a metal is packaged securely, with utmost care, then even a humid environment would not be able to corrode it. However, bad packaging can result in rusting even in the most stable environment. Thus, the pre-shipping process should be perfected and carried out strictly to protect the metal well. 


  • Use rust protection 

An important method of rust protection is the use of oils or waxes that have rust protection and anti-corrosive properties in them. Manufacturers must decide the right grade and type of oil to be used, which would be most effective in preventing rust for that particular circumstance. Apart from rust-preventive oils, manufacturers can also use materials like VCI paper or polybag, which are suited for short term, short distance shipping. Using the appropriate type of high quality materials for protecting metals from rust can be a great investment as it can bring down the possibility of corrosion to a large extent.