Coating of shipping and transport containers – new manufacturing guidelines in China will affect pricing in 2017

May 30, 2017 3:46 pm Published by Leave your thoughts


About 95% of the production of internationally standardized transport containers takes place in China. For decades, containers have been painted using solvent-based paints. This has put a substantial burden on humans and the environment alike. For health reasons and to protect the environment, container manufacturers and suppliers have committed to complying with a new set of rules regarding container coating. The switch was initiated for South China in July 2016 and manufacturing companies throughout the country will have completed the conversion until April 2017.The regulations prohibit the further use of solvent-based paints systems on standard containers in favor of water-based paints. Water-based paints have been successfully tested for container coatings since 1990. All producers will have to comply with the new rules, as the changeover does not allow for exceptions.

Where does the problem come from?

As part of the production process, the solvents in the coating evaporate and are carried into the atmosphere. Not only does this directly harm humans and the environment, but also leads to complications later on.

Issues with the use of solvent-based paints

Through evaporation, so-called VOCs (Volatile Organic Components) are released. VOCs are gas or vapor compounds of organic origin, which attack the ozone layer and can have many other negative long-term effects. This also puts the health of factory workers at risk because the vapors may irritate mucous membranes, the eyes, and lung tissue. Excessive exposure to VOCs has also been associated with carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic effects.

What is changing at production?

In Western industrialized countries, water-based paints have been used in the productions of industrial goods for many years. This development of recent years is now being applied in China as well. The CCIC (China Container Industry Association) has issued regulations that all market participants will have to comply with. To ensure fair competition in the local market, the rules will be enforced across China in 2017.

What needs to be considered for container purchase?

The switch will predictably cause prices to rise, because the cost of production will increase significantly. The new color system costs a little more and is more demanding in its application. The coatings must be applied carefully to achieve the desired quality. The drying process of the waterborne coatings is significantly more delicate than that of solvent-based paints. Compliance with the specifications regarding humidity, temperature and ventilation during the drying process is essential to achieve the desired results. Factories have to invest in ventilation and general logistics. There are also stricter guidelines regarding the processing of the paint containers. These changes in parameters lead to increasing costs.


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