Coconuts are very sensitive to various factors such as heat, moisture and improper ventilation. Any of these factors could cause adverse effects to the coconuts by destroying them completely and reducing the nutritive value of the coconuts. The various risk factors and the corresponding loss prevention methods of storing and transporting coconuts are:

  1. Temperature:Coconuts must be refrigerated as they are transported. They must be stored in a temperature between 5 degrees to 25 degrees in a well ventilated compartment. They must be kept away from direct heat; otherwise they will leak and burst open. By the time they arrive at the destination, they will have no coconut milk in them.
  1. Humidity/Moisture:The coconuts must not be mingled with moisture sensitive cargoes like salt and dry sugar as the nuts release vapor and self heats. This will cause the formation of mold on the surface of the coconut and this in turn will penetrate to the inner portion, making the flesh inedible.
  1. Ventilation:There must be proper ventilation in the compartment where the coconuts are placed. The typical ventilation condition and air exchange rate recommended is 6 changes/hour.
  1. Biotic Activity:Coconuts have biotic activity in them where the cycle of respiration continues. Since they are separated from the parent plant and the shortage in the supply of regular nutrients results in decomposition. This affects the quality of the coconut due to the emission of carbon dioxide, vapor and heat. As a result the coconut milk solidifies to form a white hard kernel inside which has a soapy flavor and is inedible. In order to avoid this, the cargo must be loaded carefully and transported quick enough to keep the decomposition level as low as possible.
  1. Gases:Coconuts emit ripening gases such as carbon dioxide. If the ventilation is not sufficient, CO2 emissions and shortage in oxygen levels arise. So proper ventilation must be ensured and a gas measurement must be taken. The recommended CO2 concentration is 0.49 Vol. %.
  1. Odor:Coconuts are sensitive to unpleasant odors. Coconuts have a pleasant odor and they pick up the bad odor from other cargoes. They must not be loaded with other cargoes that emit bad odor.
  1. Contamination:Coconuts are very sensitive to dust, dirt and oil. Therefore the containers must be cleaned thoroughly before loading the coconuts.
  1. Mechanical influences:Coconuts are very sensitive to pressure and vibration. Improper packing and handling might break the fruit and if the nut is exposed, there are chances for mold formation which makes it inedible.
  1. Shrinkage:The coconuts shrink due to evaporation of moisture content which is 3% to 8%. Usually the spoilage starts at a weight loss of 5%. The humidity or moisture content required to counteract evaporation is usually 80% to 90%.
  1. Diseases:Insect infestation and the onset of diseases occur during storage. If they are extremely moist, molds occur that make it inedible. In order to avoid this, the necessary quarantine regulations must be followed. A phytosanitary certificate and fumigation certificate must be attached along with the shipping documents to ensure that the coconuts are checked for such infestations.