Shipping Container Inspection Procedure: Common Defects & Solutions

Using a container inspection procedure to check the quality of your containers is the best way to avoid unforeseen cargo damage and product loss. It can be difficult to oversee multiple container locations at once and ensure all defects are found, that’s why it’s important to have a container inspection procedure and checklist that everyone can follow. Read on to learn more about shipping container inspection procedure, how to find common defects and their solutions.

Common Defects

A shipping container that is in bad condition can cause damages to the cargo being transferred and is therefore a major liability. It is crucial to inspect shipping containers before they are used for this reason. The most common defects found in shipping containers are:


Mold is quite common in shipping containers, as the darkness and humidity acts as a breeding ground. Mold can spread and grow on cargo itself, presenting a liability to the logistics manager. Mold growth can be avoided by regularly spraying the inside of containers with anti-bacterial disinfectants, preventing mold from both growing and spreading. It is also crucial to minimize any dampness in containers when possible, as this is the main reason mold is able to grow.


Holes are common in containers, as they can erode overtime, especially when being transported through different climate types. They are commonly found in the ceiling, floors, and walls of containers and can let in water, dust, sunlight, and unwanted critters, all that can be potentially damaging to the cargo being transported. Holes are created as part of the wear and tear of containers but can often be prevented with extra care. Regular checks should be conducted on the interior of containers for light leaks, which will expose any sizable holes. Checking the exterior for signs of erosion, dents, or other problem signs will also be crucial in preventing holes from becoming an issue. Catching a problem like this early will go a long way for how much you need to spend on the repair costs. Treatment for holes depends on the size and severity of the hole but most significant repairs will likely require welding equipment and an experienced professional.

Damaged floorboards

Most containers have floorboards made of wood, which erode overtime, often becoming unbalanced and loose. Wood also splinters as it is worn down, causing more breakage in the wood and putting the cargo at risk of damage. Wooden floorboards should be closely monitored for signs of erosion, making sandpaper repairs where splintered. There is also some weather-proof coating available as a preventative measure to make wooden floorboards last longer. Many times, weathered wood needs to simply be replaced when it has been damaged beyond repair.


Any obvious odors that are present when entering a container should be of concern. Not only can the odor transfer onto the cargo, but it can cause damage, depending on what the cause of the odor is. Cleaning the container is crucial to minimize odors and their causes. Most biodegradable, antibacterial cleaning products work well in shipping containers, as long as it is rinsed thoroughly afterward and aired out until dry.


Stains are the final defect that are most commonly found in shipping containers. Because so many different things are coming in and out of them, containers are easily and frequently left stained. The best way to avoid stains becoming an issue is to not repurpose containers used to transport greasy and oily products and machinery. To get rid of stains, use a tough cleaning agent recommended for the type of stain present.

Avoiding Damage to Cargo

The best way to avoid damage to your cargo altogether is to work with an experienced professional who can handle your cargo with care. The LogiWorld staff have two decades of experience with shipping containers so we’ve seen it all. If you have additional questions on how to handle shipping containers to avoid damage or any questions about logistics management, contact us today!

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