Cardboard [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 / Theft
Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion Insect infestation / Diseases

Product information

Product name

German Karton
English Cardboard
Spanish Cartón
CN/HS number * 4819 ff.

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

Cardboard is a flat packaging material consisting of paper stock and generally being of high-quality stock composition (e.g. white mechanical pulp board). Its basis weight is 250 – 500 g/m². If cardboard has a basis weight of between 150 and 250 g/m², it is described as light, while cardboard with a basis weight of 500 – 600 g/m² is described as heavy.

Cardboard may either be single ply or consist of several paper webs couched together mechanically or stuck (laminated) together.

Boxboard (carton board) is used to make the blanks from which cartons and the like are made.

A distinction is drawn between the following types of cardboard:

Chromo imitation board: chromo imitation board is a cardboard couched from several plies and provided with a smooth coating on one side while in the board machine. Chromo imitation board generally consists of outer plies on the recto and verso, intermediate plies and fillers of wood pulp or waste paper. It is designed for producing cartons and is suitable for printing. Its basis weight is 225 – 500 g/m².

Chromo carton board: chromo board is a chromo imitation board which is coated on one or both sides outside the board machine. Its color is pure white.

Folding carton board: folding carton board is a multi-ply cardboard sometimes with coated recto. The fold edges are pre-marked with grooves.

Cup board: cup board is a cardboard which may or may not contain wood. It is used to produce cups for the food and drinks industry. Its basis weight is 200 – 250 g/m².

Drawing cardboard: drawing cardboard is smooth, thin, white paperboard or smooth white paper for drawing purposes.

Quality / Duration of storage

In Germany, the various types of cardboard are classified using a brief description consisting of two letters and a number:

1st place 2nd place 3rd place
G = coated

U = uncoated
D = duplex (gray verso)

T = triplex (light verso)

C = chromo or chromo imitation (light verso)

G = coated by curtain coating method (high gloss)
Quality classes:

1 (low)

2 (medium) 

3 (high) 

Intended use

Cardboard is mainly used to produce shipping and sales packaging. It is also used in the food and drinks industry (e.g. for cups), for book bindings, as gift wrapping paper etc..

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 Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France
Africa Morocco

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Cardboard goods are transported in packs (unpackaged, strapped with plastic strapping), bales, packets or paperboard cartons and in rolls.

Chromo imitation board is transported in ultratightly wound rolls with end cover disks likewise of chromo imitation board or in burrlessly cut sheets, counted but not in reams.

Chromo carton board is transported in ultratightly wound rolls or in burrlessly cut sheets.

Folding carton board is likewise transported in rolls (circumferential packaging with edge protection) or in sheets (sleeve wrappings, unpackaged).

Cup board is packaged in millboard cartons.

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo

Means of transport

Truck, ship (specially designed for transporting paper), railroad

Container transport

Transport in standard containers , subject to compliance with limits for water content of goods, packaging and flooring.

Cargo handling

It is imperative that the goods be protected from moisture (rain, snow) during cargo handling, as there is a risk of losses caused by swelling and tearing of individual layers.

Incorrect handling during loading and unloading and storage entails the risk of damage. As a consequence, in the case of rolls the layers become unusable over the depth of the snags. They are then fit merely to be torn off (stripped down) and used as waste paper. Packs and bales must not be lifted by the strapping, as this may break.

Incorrect cargo handling may result in distortion of paper rolls (ovalization). Rolls exhibiting marked ovality can no longer be used for printing and have to be rewound.

Cargo handling of paper rolls should be performed only with special cargo handling gear and forklift trucks with paper roll clamps.

Stowage factor

8.60 m³/t (packs, unpackaged, strapped with plastic strapping) [1]

Stowage space requirements

Holds must be swept absolutely clean and smooth, to prevent any possibility of damage to the ends. The goods must be protected from any possible leakage from hydraulic lines. In addition, the holds must be protected against ingress of moisture and spray.


Packing paper

Cargo securing

If the rolls are loaded horizontally and incorrectly secured, the lower rolls may be distorted by pressure from the rolls arranged on top of them.

Horizontal loading

Figure 1

In the case of vertical loading, the rolls must be protected with covers against damage to the ends.

Vertical loading

Figure 2

Any spaces between the vertical rolls must be filled.

For cargo securing, see also chapter entitled Paper trade in the GDV Cargo Securing Manual.

For further information see also the chapters entitled

„Basic physical principles of cargo securing“,
„Road vehicles, selection, equipping and loading capacity“,
„Cargo securing materials“.

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Risk factors and loss prevention

RF Temperature

Cardboard goods require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions) .

Most favorable travel temperature range: 0 – 25°C [1]

Optimum travel temperature: 20°C   [1]

During cargo handling, temperatures below 0°C are also permissible for short periods. The product must be protected from heat sources and intense solar radiation in order to avoid brittleness, yellowing, buckling (see Figure 3) and an increased fire hazard.


Figure 3

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Cardboard goods require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions) .

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 65 – 70% [1]
Water content 5 – 8% (chromo imitation board) [1]
6 – 9% (chromo board) [1]
9 – 12% (folding carton board) [1]
6 – 8% (cup board) [1]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 70% [1]

At a water content of < 5%, brittleness and shrinkage of the fibers occur. Since stacked sheets cannot enter into a free exchange of moisture with the ambient air, this equalization is limited to the edges in contact with the air. This causes bulging of the edge areas and unwanted buckling (see Figure 3) of the board, which is promoted in particular by intense solar radiation.

In addition, cardboard goods must be protected from all moisture, such as rain, snow, condensation water, seawater, extremely high levels of relative humidity or damp stacking surfaces, to meet the requirements for damage-free transport.

Moisture- or wetness-damaged carton board suffers depreciation due to linear distortion, torsion phenomena, changes in smoothness and color, reduction in mechanical tensile strength and  waviness. When stacked, excess moisture leads to swelling of the fibers at the periphery, the edges becoming wavy. This damage is irreversible, since drying leads to warping due to inner tensions resulting from non-uniform distribution of the moisture within the sheet and to staining (drying rings).

Cargo sweat is particularly likely to occur during voyages from cold to hot climates or during unloading in tropical ports if the goods were not sufficiently warmed up during the voyage and were exposed to the hot ambient air upon opening of the hatch covers or container doors.

Cardboard goods must not be stowed in a hold with other goods which release moisture.

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RF Ventilation

Cardboard goods require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and possibly ventilation conditions (SC VI) (storage climate conditions) .

Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate: 6 changes/hour (airing), if the dew point of the external air is lower than the dew point of the hold air.

On voyages from cold to hot climates (Scandinavian ports, Continental ports – tropical unloading ports in Africa, Asia), every possible opportunity for warming the paper must be used to avoid cargo sweat.

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RF Biotic activity

This risk factor has no significant influence on the transport of this product.

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RF Gases

This risk factor has no significant influence on the transport of this product.

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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

Cardboard goods are combustible and should therefore be protected from flying sparks. Smoking must be strictly prohibited. When stacked, it has a tendency to heat-induced spontaneous combustion.

Unlike CO2, water and foam cause considerable cargo losses due to wetting and swelling when used as fire-extinguishing agents.

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RF Odor

Active behavior Cardboard goods do not release any odor.
Passive behavior Cardboard goods are sensitive to unpleasant and/or pungent foreign odors. Cup board is highly odor-sensitive, since it is used in the food and drinks industry.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Cardboard goods are a very clean cargo.
Passive behavior Cardboard goods are extremely sensitive to contamination. They must in particular be stowed away from colorants, acids, chemicals and fats/oils and be protected from dust and dirt.

Cup board must be kept absolutely clean since it is used in the food industry. Its physiological suitability for food use must be ensured.

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RF Mechanical influences

Cardboard goods are very sensitive to mechanical influences such as pressure, impact and friction. The risk of damage is greatest during cargo handling.

When transported in rolls, the following types of damage occur:

Distortion: generally in the form of ovalization of the rolls, arising as a result of excessive stack pressure where rolls are stowed horizontally, since forces are borne solely by the linear bearing surface. In the case of newsprint, damage to the inner core results in interruptions in production or in problems during handling, as the rolls can no longer be lifted correctly. Slight distortion of the core may be remedied. Very oval paper rolls are no longer suitable for printing and are rejected by the receiver, thereby generally entailing total loss, or they have to be rewound, entailing rewinding costs and wasted time.


Figure 4

Telescoping of the rolls is caused by pneumatic cargo handling equipment, the rolls being extended in the manner of a telescope, which always results in total loss of the rolls.

Indentations occur both in the roll sides when the rolls are stowed horizontally and in the end faces when they are stowed vertically and are generally caused by residual dirt from earlier cargoes, uneven set-down surfaces and being pressed against structural parts of the means of transport, and also by cargo securing materials.

Edge damage arises when laying down vertical rolls or standing up horizontal rolls, by stowing rolls of different diameters on top of one another or if overhanging roll ends are not adequately supported and by shocks or impacts sustained during cargo handling.

Tear damage: snagged layers result in considerable paper losses, as the rolls become unusable to the depth of the snag.


Figure 5

Rolls must not rub against (chafe) each other or other items; points at risk must be padded with paper bags and air cushions or the like.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

The physiological suitability of cup board for food use must be ensured, as it is used in the food industry.

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RF Shrinkage / Shortage / Theft

The percentage loss caused by snags to rolls can be calculated according to the following formula:

S = loss in %

T = depth of damage

D = diameter of roll

d = diameter of core

Paper loss

Figure 6

The following table shows the outcome of damage as a percentage of roll weight with an assumed core diameter of 10 cm:

Depth of damage

Roll diameter
91 cm 95 cm 100 cm
3.0 12.91 12.37 11.76
4.0 17.02 16.31 15.52
5.0 21.02 20.17 19.19
6.0 24.94 23.93 22.79
7.0 28.75 27.61 26.30
8.0 32.47 31.19 29.74
9.0 26.08 34.69 33.09
10.0 39.60 38.10 36.36

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

This risk factor has no significant influence on the transport of this product.

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