From Cargo Handbook - the world's largest cargo transport guidelines website
Infobox on Hemp
Example of Hemp
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) 2,50/3,00 m3/t (bales)
Humidity / moisture Relative humidity:
  • 65%
  • Water content
  • 10-12%
Ventilation See text
Risk factors See text



Hemp is a commonly used term for varieties of the Cannabis plant and its products, which include fibre, oil, and seed. In many countries regulatory limits for concentrations of psychoactive drug compounds (THC) in hemp encourage the use of strains of the plant which are bred for low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content or otherwise have the THC removed. Hemp is refined into products like hemp seed foods, hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, and fuel.


Hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes including the manufacture of cordage of varying tensile strength, durable clothing and nutritional products. The bast fibres can be used in 100% hemp products, but are commonly blended with other organic fibres such as flax, cotton or silk, for apparel and furnishings, most commonly at a 55%/45% hemp/cotton blend. The inner two fibres of hemp are more woody and are more often used in non-woven items and other industrial applications, such as mulch, animal bedding and litter. The oil from the fruits ("seeds") oxidizes (commonly, though inaccurately, called "drying") to become solid on exposure to air, similar to linseed oil, and is sometimes used in the manufacture of oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturizing agent, for cooking, and in plastics. Hemp seeds have been used in bird seed mix as well.

In modern times hemp is used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, construction (as with Hempcrete and insulation), body products, health food and bio-fuel.

Shipment / Storage

Hemp is normally of a whitish to yellowish colour. Excessively moist hemp discolours to black.

Hemp is usually shipped in bales in standard containers. Hemp, unlike jute, does not readily powder and deteriorate. If water penetrates bales to any extent, or if subjected to condition of humidity, the material may become stained and mouldy and the fibre deteriorate.

Duration of storage is not a limiting factor as regards transport and storage life, provided that the appropriate humidity/moisture conditions are complied with.

Hemp is transported in bales weighing 100 - 200 kg., wrapped in jute fabric to protect them from contamination and moisture and strapped with steel strapping.

If the product is loaded for shipment in a dry state, it does not have any particular ventilation requirements. Problems arise if the product, packaging and/or ceiling/flooring are too damp. In this case, the air exchange rate should be 10 changes/hour (airing).

Hemp is not normally liable to spontaneous combustion, although it is possible if in contact with oil or fats.

See also Fibres.

Risk factors

  • Moisture damage
  • Self heating / spontaneous combustion (see above)
  • Odour
  • Contamination