Cellulose, Chemical pulp [German version]

Table of contents

Product information
  Container transport
  Cargo securing

Risk factors and loss prevention:
Temperature Odor
Humidity/Moisture Contamination
Ventilation Mechanical influences
Biotic activity Toxicity / Hazards to health
Gases Shrinkage/Shortage
Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion Insect infestation / Diseases

Product information

Product name

German Zellulose chemical pulp
English Cellulose chemical pulp
French Cellulose pâte chimique
Spanish Celulosa pulpa quîmica
CN/HS number * 47 ff. 47 ff.

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Chemical pulp is a man-made fiber of cellulose (C6H10O5)n, which is obtained from plant material (95% from wood) and is further processed predominantly in the paper industry, white pulp being used to produce printing and writing paper and brown pulp being used to produce paperboard and packing paper.

Chemical pulp is subdivided into the following groups:

sulfate pulp
sulfite pulp
semichemical pulp
mechanical pulp (MP, TMP, CTMP)

in each case fully bleached, semibleached or unbleached.

Cellulose raw materials include all cellulose-containing materials, such as wood, cotton, straw and other annual plants. Yield varies between 15 and 80% depending on the raw material and processing method used. During production, the cellulose fibers are separated from one another, either by pressure boiling (chemical pulping) or by mechanical comminution:
  1. alkaline pressure boiling = sulfate pulp

  2. acidic or neutral pressure boiling = a) sulfite pulp or b) semichemical pulp

  3. mechanical comminution = mechanical pulp (MP and TMP)

  4. CTMP is subjected initially to chemical/thermal pretreatment and is then mechanically comminuted, thereby assuming an intermediate position.
Pressure boiling is followed by multi-stage bleaching. Unbleached chemical pulp is brown.

Once dried, chemical pulp is sold commercially in sheets, pressed blocks or rolls.

A distinction is drawn between papermaking pulps and special pulps. Special pulps are individually produced for their particular field of use, the important factor generally being chemical purity.

Quality / Duration of storage

The most important features of papermaking pulps are whiteness, strength and cleanness. In paper and cardboard production, papermaking pulps are either used in the pure state or mixed with secondary fibers.

Newsprint: more or less chemical pulp or mechanical pulp depending on waste paper content
Rotogravure paper: moderate to high chemical pulp content depending on quality
Hand-made paper: pure chemical pulp
Imitation parchment paper: pure sulfite pulp
Insulating paper: pure sulfate pulp, though mixtures with waste paper also possible
Kraft sack paper: sulfate pulp
Kraft packing paper: sulfate pulp, possibly also mixed with a small proportion of waste paper
Toilet paper: sulfite pulp, mixed with waste paper, 100% waste paper also possible

Subject to compliance with the appropriate temperature and humidity/moisture conditions, duration of storage is not a limiting factor as regards transport and storage life.

Intended use

Chemical pulps are used in the manufacture of paper and cardboard, among other things in the production of newsprint, rotogravure paper, hand-made paper, imitation parchment paper, insulating paper, kraft sack paper, kraft packing paper and toilet paper.

Countries of origin

This Table shows only a selection of the most important countries of origin and should not be thought of as exhaustive.

Europe Norway, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Greece, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey, former USSR
Asia Japan
America Canada, USA, Brazil
Australia Australia

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Chemical pulp is predominantly supplied in bales (e.g. 120 x 80 cm) weighing approx. 200 or 250 kg and rolls weighing 250 – 400 kg. According to [14], the bales may also weigh between 120 and 160 kg. Packaging generally consists of white or brown paper with a high cellulose content or of actual sheets of chemical pulp. Bales of chemical pulp are held together with wires or steel strapping. For ease of handling during loading and unloading, the individual bales are generally strapped together in units of 6 or 8 [2] or even 12 [11].

Marking of packages
Mark07.gif (2224 bytes)

Keep dry
Mark02.gif (2816 bytes)

Use no hooks

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo

Means of transport

Ship, truck, railroad

Container transport

Dry pulp may be transported in standard containers, subject to compliance with limits for water content of goods, packaging and flooring. If there is too much moisture present in the container, there is a risk that condensation water may form. Where containers are not watertight, there is a risk of ingress of moisture from outside (precipitation, seawater), leading to losses. It is therefore generally better to stow the containers below deck.

Wet pulp is highly susceptible to losses in standard containers, as the high water content of the goods means that even slight temperature fluctuations may cause condensation water to form.

Cargo handling

The cargo must also be protected from moisture (rain, snow) during cargo handling (stow in hold or cover with tarpaulins in the case of truck and rail transport).

During cargo handling, ensure that surfaces are clean. In addition, forklift trucks should be checked for hydraulic fluid and oil leaks and squeeze clamps should be clean.

Papermaking pulp may also be stored in the open air in the short term, provided that it is adequately covered (tarpaulins) and the ground is clean. It is usually set down on squared lumber or pallets. Special pulp should be stored in sheds where possible.

Chemical pulp is contaminated by fibrous materials and it is therefore important, where possible, to use wire rope or chains during cargo handling.

Stowage factor

1.50 m3/t (bales in wooden frames) [1]
1.25 – 1.39 m3/t (loose bales) [11]
1.25 – 1.39 m3/t (unitized bales) [11]
1.45 – 1.56 m3/t (wet pulp) [11]
1.65 – 1.90 m3/t (bales) [14]

Stowage space requirements

Before the cargo is accepted, holds or containers must be absolutely clean (e.g. no patches of fat or oil) and dry, in particular in the case of viscose pulp (silk pulp).

In the case of transport by ship, pipework must be leak-free, bilges must be inspected and hatch covers must be watertight. Where possible, dry pulp should not be stored on deck.

Wet pulp may be transported on deck, but it must then be carefully protected from contact with seawater, to prevent blue discoloration. To minimize risks, it is therefore best to avoid stowage on deck.


Fiber rope/thin fiber nets and marker pen/oil crayon. Do not use water-based paint, since this is absorbed by the chemical pulp and causes discoloration.

Cargo securing

For stabilization purposes, cellulose packages may be provided with wooden frames. To prevent the packages from shifting and suffering damage during transport, the holds/containers should be tightly packed or any spaces that may remain should be filled with appropriate stowage material.

Inadequate cargo securing

Figure 1
Inadequate cargo securing

Figure 2

For cargo securing, see also chapter entitled Cellulose packages in the GDV Cargo Securing Manual.

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Risk factors and loss prevention

RF Temperature

Chemical pulp requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions)

Favorable travel temperature range: no lower limit – 30°C [1]

At higher temperatures, the risk of mold attack increases.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Chemical pulp requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions)

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 60 – 65% (dry pulp) [1]
85 – 90% (wet pulp) [1]
Water content 8 – 15% [2]
5 – 10% (dry pulp) [1]
40 – 55% (wet pulp) [1]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content < 65% (dry pulp) [1]
90% (wet pulp) [1]

Pulp is transported either as dry pulp or occasionally as wet pulp.

Sorption isotherm

Figure 3

The sorption isotherm for cellulose demonstrates its hygroscopicity . During cargo handling and transport, the cargo must be protected from all forms of moisture (seawater, rain and condensation water) and excessive relative humidity. Chemical pulp has a high swelling capacity and may increase in volume by > 50% if it absorbs moisture. Its suitability for transport may then be affected, the mixture ratio with other products changes and the risk of mold attack and mustiness increases, especially at elevated temperatures. Mold spoils the pulp and causes it to disintegrate. The action of seawater causes problems, since it leads to chemical reactions as well as rust spots. Technical developments in recent years mean that processing plants react more sensitively to seawater due to closed water circuits and because most operations are carried out at neutral pH. Seawater-sodden bales may be rejected.

Wet pulp should not be stowed together with moisture-sensitive goods due to its high water content and its capacity to release water vapor.

Cargo fires should be extinguished with CO2 or foam. If a fire is extinguished with water or in the event of water ingress, the swelling capacity of chemical pulp may result in severe damage to the structure of the vessel. For example, water ingress occurred when a ship loaded with pulp was in a collision. After only a short time, the pulp bales began to swell, forcing up the hatch covers. The cargo was so saturated and swollen with water that the central area of the ship became completely deformed. Unloading proved extremely difficult, with the severely swollen bales having to be wrenched out.

Collision/water ingress

Figure 4
Collision/water ingress

Figure 5
Collision/water ingress

Figure 6
Collision/water ingress

Figure 7
Collision/water ingress

Figure 8
Collision/water ingress

Figure 9
Collision/water ingress

Figure 10
Collision/water ingress

Figure 11
Collision/water ingress

Figure 12

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RF Ventilation

Chemical pulp requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions)

Recommended ventilation conditions:

for dry pulp: air exchange rate: 6 changes/hour (airing)
for wet pulp: air exchange rate: 10 – 20 changes/hour (airing)

Chemical pulp must be carefully ventilated, to dissipate the gases generated in production. Wet pulp should be ventilated immediately after the start of the voyage, as considerable quantities of condensation may arise due to constant water vapor release. Where wet pulp is transported in standard containers, large amounts of condensation form on the container walls. At an equilibrium moisture content of 90%, a temperature difference of just 2°C between the pulp and the container wall is sufficient to cause condensation to form on the container walls, the container ceiling being most at risk of condensation.

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RF Biotic activity

Chemical pulp displays 3rd order biotic activity.

Chemical pulp is a product in which respiration processes are suspended, but in which biochemical, microbial and other decomposition processes still proceed.

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RF Gases

Chemical pulp may release gases generated in production. Do not stow with chemicals (acids, alkalies, gases), as explosive vapors may develop.

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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

Chemical pulp is highly flammable, so protect from sparks, cigarette ends, fire and naked lights. Smoldering fires are also a risk. Smoking is absolutely prohibited during cargo handling. Do not stow with chemicals (acids, alkalies, gases), as explosive vapors may develop. Cargo fires should be extinguished with CO2 or foam due to the swelling capacity of the cargo.

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RF Odor

Active behavior Chemical pulp has a slight, unpleasant odor.
Passive behavior Chemical pulp absorbs foreign odors easily. This risk is particularly significant in the case of materials to be used for foodstuffs (e.g. coffee filters).

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Chemical pulp does not cause contamination.
Passive behavior Chemical pulp is contaminated in particular by coal, grain, fats/oils and fibrous material. Contamination by fats/oil often results in the entire cargo being lost, as the pulp becomes unfit for further processing. Do not accept any bales which are dirty or are strapped with rusty steel straps.

Chemical pulp is supplied as a finished auxiliary or end product for further processing. Contamination caused by external dirt (on the packaging) need not be considered serious as long as it is certain that the product itself is not contaminated. Internal contamination disrupts production operations. Bitumen and plastic pellets are extremely deleterious, but grain, wood splinters and other small items may also lead to production defects. The former contaminants bring with them the very real risk of consequential losses amounting to many times the value of the product (unreusable waste, machine down-time and possibly even damage to the wire and cylinder).

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RF Mechanical influences

Improper handling, e.g. incorrect positioning of the clamps or bumping, may result in mechanical damage to the pulp bales. To prevent this damage, the bales are wrapped in protective sheets.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

Gases generated during the production of chemical pulp may present a risk to health when released.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

Unclearly marked bales may result in losses of volume due to incorrect delivery.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Chemical pulp may be attacked and destroyed by microbes and insects, especially moths. The risk of moth infestation increases if the bales are contaminated or stowed near wool bales or if their packaging consists of material susceptible to moth attack.

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