Ginger, fresh [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 Ingwer, frisch (grün)
English Ginger, fresh
French Gingembre frais
Spanish Jengibre fresco
Scientific Rhizome of Zingiber officinale
CN/HS number * 0910 10 ff.

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Ginger is the washed, irregular-shaped rootstock (rhizome) of the reed-like ginger plant of the family Zingiberaceae, which is cultivated in the tropics and grows as tall as 1.5 m. The rootstock shape resembles a human hand (hands or claws).

The term spice is used to refer to plant parts which serve to improve the odor and flavor of foods. They contain essential oils and other ingredients which have a strong seasoning action.

Spices are processed, cleaned, graded and carefully packaged for overseas dispatch in the countries where they are cultivated. They are dried to preserve them for transport and storage. In consumer countries, they are delivered to spice mills, where they are cleaned and graded again, ready for sale in unground or ground form.

Spices are classified by the plant parts used:

Fruit and seed spices (e.g. pepper, cardamom, nutmeg)
Bud and flower spices (e.g. cloves)
Bark spices (e.g. cinnamon)
Root spices (e.g. ginger, turmeric)
Leaf spices (e.g. bay leaf)

Ginger from the finest shoots of the rootstock is also imported in crystallized form in earthenware jugs and in syrup in wooden kegs, specially from China and the West Indies.

Fresh ginger has a characteristic, bitingly pungent, slightly sweetish and aromatic flavor, which is more intense than is the case with dried ginger.

Oil content:

Essential oils:

0.8 – 5.0%, in particular zingiberene and zingiberol [1]
1.0 – 3.0% [28]

Quality / Duration of storage

Fresh ginger rootstock hands of relatively light coloring are of high quality, while darker colors denote lower quality. Soil attached to a rootstock hand indicates poor quality.

Depending on variety and origin, ginger exhibits varying quality features:

Jamaica ginger: best aroma
Malabar ginger: slight lemony taste
West African ginger: very hot, high oil content
Stem ginger: sometimes differs in flavor from the typical ginger aroma; it is steeped in sugar solution and crystallized.

Chilled fresh ginger roots can be kept for only approx. 10 days (2 – 3 weeks if packaged in film bags). According to [11], fresh ginger from Singapore and Hong Kong is deemed unsuitable for long journeys.

Intended use

Ginger is used domestically and in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Ginger serves as a cooking spice for pickling pumpkin and gherkins and is an ingredient of curry powder. It is used in oriental and Indian cooking and in bakery and confectionery products and liqueurs. In Asia and Africa it has many medicinal uses.


(Click on the Figure to enlarge it.)

Photo, fresh ginger

Figure 1

Countries of origin

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

Africa Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast
Asia India, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Japan
America Jamaica, Brazil
Australia Australia

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Ginger is packaged in jute fabric bags (36 – 65 kg, also secondhand bags) among other things and less frequently in boxes (60 kg).

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo
Symbol, temperature-controlled


Means of transport

Ship, truck, railroad

Container transport

Refrigerated containers with fresh air supply or open-sided containers with raised tarpaulins, which allow maximum ventilation, where external conditions allow (no rain, snowfall etc.).

Cargo handling

In damp weather (rain, snow), the cargo must be protected from moisture, since this may lead to mold and spoilage.

Hooks must not be used in handling bagged goods as they subject the bags to point loads, so damaging them. Due to their shape, plate or bag hooks apply an area load and are thus more suitable for handling bags.

Stowage factor

2.26 – 2.66 m3/t (jute fabric bags, 31 kg) [1]
2.23 – 2.65 m3/t [11]
2.23 m3/t (fruit crates) [11]

Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry, good ventilation


Fiber rope, thin fiber nets, wooden dunnage

Cargo securing

In order to ensure safe transport, the cargo must be stowed and secured in the means of transport in such a manner that it cannot slip or shift during transport. If loss of volume and degradation of quality are to be avoided, the packages must not be damaged by other articles or items of cargo.

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Risk factors and loss prevention

RF Temperature

Fresh ginger requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

Favorable travel temperature: 10°C [11]

Excessively high storage temperatures cause the essential oils contained in the ginger to volatilize readily, so diminishing the seasoning action of the ginger.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Fresh ginger requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 60 – 70% [1]
Water content 12 – 15% [1]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 65% [1]

Spices are hygroscopic goods (hygroscopicity), which interact with the moisture in the air. The risk of mold growth is naturally at its greatest in warm, damp air and the product may become musty.

For this reason ginger should be loaded only in a properly dry condition and protected from heat and moisture during transport.

Ginger has poor moisture tolerance: the intrinsic moisture content of inadequately dried goods and moisture from external sources may cause mold growth („white beards“) and the emergence of green shoots on fresh ginger. Contact with water in any form (seawater, rain or condensation water) may result in significant depreciation. For this reason, moisture measurements should ideally be carried out at the time of acceptance of a consignment.

Photo, fresh ginger

Figure 2

In order to prevent condensation on the ship’s side or container walls from affecting the cargo, care should be taken to leave an adequate gap between the cargo stack and the ship’s side.

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RF Ventilation

Fresh ginger requires particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate: 10 changes/hour (airing) with continuous supply of fresh air

In order to avoid formation of mold, the stowage space should be cool, dry and, most particularly, easy to ventilate. However, according to [11], in the case of fresh ginger excessive ventilation carries the risk of drying-out and withering.

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RF Biotic activity

Fresh ginger displays 2nd order biotic activity.

It is a living organ in which respiration processes predominate, because its supply of new nutrients has been cut off by separation from the parent plant.

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RF Gases

Due to the increased intensity of respiration and associated oxygen consumption, fresh ginger has a tendency to self-heating and to elevated CO2 concentrations in the hold. To counter these phenomena, particularly extensive ventilation measures are required.

With chilled goods, the fresh air supply must be controlled in such a way that the CO2 content of the circulating hold/container air does not exceed 0.4 vol.%.

Fresh ginger displays low ethylene sensitivity. The rate of ethylene production is very low, being below 0.1 µl/kg*h [16].

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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

An elevated moisture content and excessively high temperatures create a risk of self-heating.

Oil content:

Essential oils:

0.8 – 5.0%, in particular zingiberene and zingiberol [1]
1.0 – 3.0% [28]

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RF Odor

Active behavior Ginger has a strong, pleasant but intense odor.

The odor of ginger results from its content of essential ginger oil and the bitingly pungent taste results from the content of gingerol.

When transporting spices, it is important to retain the content of essential oils to the greatest possible extent, since these substances, together with other constituents, such as fatty oils, tannins and bitter principles, determine the odor and flavor and thus quality of the spices.

The essential oils are readily volatilized and the seasoning action of the spices is consequently reduced. Volatilization of the essential oils is primarily determined by temperature. The higher is the ambient temperature, the more the essential oils are volatilized, as may be recognized by the intense odor in the hold.

Due to the readily volatilized essential oils, spices should always be stowed separately from each other and away from foodstuffs which readily absorb foreign odors (e.g. coffee or tea).
Passive behavior Ginger is sensitive to odor-emitting products.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Ginger may create dust and dirt during cargo handling.
Passive behavior Ginger is sensitive to contamination by dust, dirt, fats and oils.

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RF Mechanical influences

With bagged cargo, point loads applied for example by hooks may result in damage (tears) to the bags and thus in loss of volume. Plate or bag hooks, which, due to their shape, distribute the load and reduce the risk of damage, should thus be used.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

No risk.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

The natural drying process of the product may cause loss of weight, but this generally remains < 1%. With extended storage, the weight loss is also associated with the loss of essential oils.

Where secondhand bags are used, loss of volume may arise as a result of damage to the sacking.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Insect infestation is a not uncommon risk with ginger. Consignments of ginger may be infested, for instance, by tobacco beetles, rust-red grain beetles, flour beetles and merchant grain beetles.

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