Cinnamon [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 Zimt, Kaneel, Kassia
English Cinnamon, Cassia
French Cannelle
Spanish Canela
Scientific Cortex cinnamoni of Cinnamomum aromaticum
CN/HS number * 0906 ff.

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Cinnamon or cinnamon bark is the dried inner bark, stripped of its outer cork layer, which is peeled from the thin stems and twigs of the cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum aromaticum) of the laurel family (Lauraceae).

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, star anise)
Bud and flower spices (e.g. cloves)
Bark spices (e.g. cinnamon)
Root spices (ginger, turmeric)
Leaf spices (bay leaf)

Cinnamon is also known as cassia. A similar spice to cinnamon is cassia (Cinnamomum cassia); once harvested, both roll up into „quills“ when they are dried in the sun, but while cinnamon curls inwards from both edges, cassia curls inwards from only one edge. Due to their similar properties, cinnamon and cassia are dealt with together. Ground cinnamon of commerce may comprise cinnamon or cassia. The quills are 1 m in length and are subsequently cut into cinnamon sticks generally 8 cm in length.

The odor of cinnamon is aromatic and spicy, while its flavor may sometimes be hot and pungent. Cinnamon is offered for sale as sticks, broken bark and in ground form and is usually yellowish to dark brown in color.

Oil content: 1.0 – 3.5% essential oils, in particular cinnamaldehyde [1]

Quality / Duration of storage

The content of essential cinnamon oil and the thickness of the sticks determine the quality of the spice. Basically, the thinner the cinnamon sticks, the better the quality.

According to [15], the most important types of cinnamon are:

Ceylon cinnamon, true cinnamon
Chinese cinnamon, cassia
Culilawan cinnamon, Lavang cinnamon bark
Fagot cassia, Batavia cassia
Padang cinnamon, Padang Cassia vera, Padang Cassia lignea
Madagascar cinnamon
Malabar cinnamon
Cassia buds, cinnamon bark
Saigon cinnamon, Annam cinnamon
Seychelles cinnamon
White cinnamon, Canella

The waste from cinnamon processing is known as „cinnamon chips“, which are shipped in bales and used to manufacture cinnamon oil.

Intended use

Cinnamon is used as a spice in cooking and in the food industry. Cinnamon oil (mainly cinnamaldehyde C9H8O, the flavoring substance of this spice) is used to aromatize liqueurs and cosmetics.


(Click on the individual Figures to enlarge them.)

Photo, cinnamon

Figure 1
Photo Cassia lignea

Figure 2
Photo Cassia lignea

Figure 3
Drawing, cinnamon/cassia

Figure 4

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 Madagascar
Asia China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Comoros, Seychelles
America South America

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Cinnamon is packaged in, among other things, boxes, cartons and bales.

Photo, cinnamon packaging

Figure 5

Marking of packages

Fragile, Handle with care
Mark03.gif (1911 bytes)

Mark07.gif (2224 bytes)

Keep dry

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo

Means of transport

Ship, truck, railroad

Container transport

Containers with passive ventilation (ventilated containers or coffee containers) subject to compliance with lower limits for water content of goods, packaging and container flooring. Closed standard containers are not suitable because they cannot be ventilated sufficiently, resulting in elevated relative humidities in the container, chemical transformation of the aromatic substance cinnamaldehyde and unpleasant, solvent-like foreign odor (see RF Humidity/Moisture).

Cargo handling

In damp weather (rain, snow), the cargo must be protected from moisture, since this may lead to mold and spoilage. Bales must be handled with particular care as the cinnamon sticks inside may otherwise break. Use no bag or plate hooks.

Stowage factor

2.50 – 2.70 m3/t (bales) [1]
3.62 – 3.90 m3/t (bundles) [11]
2.79 m3/t (boxes) [11]
2.83 – 3.12 m3/t (bales from Sri Lanka) [14]
4.73 m3/t (round bales from Sri Lanka) [14]
3.68 – 3.96 m3/t (bundles from India) [14]
2.83 m3/t (boxes from India) [14]
4.53 m3/t (boxes from Indonesia) [14]
4.25 m3/t (baskets from Indonesia) [14]
4.53 m3/t (round bags from Indonesia) [14]
3.40 m3/t (bags from Indonesia) [14]
5.24 m3/t (boxes from China) [14]
3.68 m3/t (bundles from China) [14]
2.83 m3/t (56.5 kg bags from West Africa) [14]

Stowage space requirements

Cool, dry, good ventilation. If possible, stow bales upright.


Fiber rope, thin fiber nets, wooden dunnage

Cargo securing

In order to ensure safe transport, the packages must be stowed and secured in the means of transport in such a manner that they 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. Cinnamon loaded in bales is in particular at extreme risk of breakage.

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Risk factors and loss prevention

RF Temperature

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

Favorable travel temperature range: 15 – 19°C [1]

Cinnamon should be transported in areas which exhibit the lowest temperatures during the voyage and are dry. In any event, storage beneath the weather deck or, in the case of shipping in containers, in the uppermost layer on deck, must be avoided as the deck or container is strongly heated by the intense tropical sun and, at temperatures of > 20 – 35°C, there is a risk that essential oils will be lost and, in conjunction with high levels of humidity/moisture, styrene may be formed (see RF Humidity/Moisture.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Cinnamon 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 up to 15% [1]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 65% [1]

When shipped in containers, there is a risk that Ceylon cinnamon will become musty, mildewed or moldy. While it is indeed technically possible to recondition or redry cinnamon which has been damaged in this manner, the process causes such degradation that the spice becomes almost worthless.

When Chinese cinnamon (Cassia lignea) was carried in closed standard containers, a solvent-like odor was repeatedly observed. After thorough investigation and several series of tests, it was found that the cinnamaldehyde (C6H5-CH=CH-CHO) present in cinnamon sticks, which produces the typical cinnamon odor and flavor, had been converted into the chemically related substance styrene (C6H5-CH=CH2).

This transformation was caused by the increased moisture content in the hold air in the container, as no air exchange could occur in the standard containers used and the relative humidity rose constantly over the course of the voyage due to natural evaporation processes.

For this reason cinnamon should also be stowed away from goods which are sensitive to moisture/humidity or release moisture (e.g. copra).

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RF Ventilation

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

Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate: at least 10 changes/hour (airing)

Ventilated containers must be used for container shipments so that the relative humidity in the container can be kept as low as possible by good ventilation, otherwise the aroma of the cargo may be impaired by the unwanted formation of styrene.

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RF Biotic activity

Cinnamon displays 3rd order biotic activity.

Cinnamon belongs to the class of products in which respiration processes are suspended, but in which biochemical, microbial and other decomposition processes still proceed.

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RF Gases

On exposure to moisture, the cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon is converted into styrene.

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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: 1.0 – 3.5% essential oils, in particular cinnamaldehyde [1]

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RF Odor

Active behavior Cinnamon has a strong, pleasant odor.

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 Cinnamon is highly odor-sensitive.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Dust formation may occur.
Passive behavior Cinnamon is sensitive to contamination by dust, dirt, fats and oils.

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RF Mechanical influences

Cinnamon sticks are sensitive to breakage. Bales in particular must be handled with care during loading so that the quills (cinnamon sticks) inside are not damaged. If possible, bales should be stowed upright.

The quills, which are up to 1 m in length, consist of pieces of cinnamon bark some 15 – 20 cm in length telescoped inside each other. Fragments of cinnamon are inserted into the quills to maintain their shape. The more tightly packed is a quill, the lower is the risk of breakage, which may be considerable for loose, cut cinnamon sticks. Even when shipped in boxes, lengths of cinnamon are at risk of breakage.

Cinnamon sticks must not be overstowed with heavy goods.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

On exposure to moisture, the cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon is converted into styrene. Styrene vapor irritates the respiratory tract and eyes, while direct contact with liquid styrene also causes eye and skin irritation.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

The natural drying process of the product may cause slight loss of weight.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

Cinnamon may sometimes be infested with insects.

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