Benefits of Using Portable and Specific Gas Analyzers for Container Inspections

Throughout the year, millions of containers with unidentified gas concentrations enter our ports around the world. Some of these gases, such as fumigants, pesticides or production gases are hazardous to humans, which forms an imminent safety risk to those handling the containers. It is therefore paramount that we ensure effective and thorough measurement processes of container gases. Checking and analyzing gas measurements can, however, be a time-consuming and costly process, due to the lack of user-friendly equipment that would offer instant and accurate results.

In this post we will consider the key requirements for efficient container measurement technologies, and the benefits of the portable gas analyzers that we at Gasmet have developed to meet these needs.

Challenges for Current Technologies and Gas Analyzers

As stated in our previous blog post, there are 3 ingredients in the recipe for secure and cost-effective container measurements:

  1. Containers will almost always contain concentrations of gases that differ from pure air, and gas analyzers must be able to identify whether or not they are hazardous.
  2. The variety of gases in the containers can be immense, which is why gas analyzers need to be able to recognize a wide variety of gases.
  3. The amount of time containers are being held in ports waiting to be ventilated or measured must be minimized in order to guarantee accurate results.

These three points create major challenges for current technologies and gas analyzers. It is almost impossible to predict which gases are present, and can only be unveiled by careful analysis of the components. This, in turn, creates a major health and safety risk if employees are exposed to harmful gases before carefully mapping out the gas consistencies.

What is more, technology must find a way to keep up with the high volume of shipping containers awaiting measurements.


What is Required of Efficient Gas Analyzers?

Based on the challenges introduced above, an efficient gas analyzer should be able to meet the following criteria:

Specificity – able to distinguish between compounds
Multicomponent capability – can measure a wide range of compounds simultaneously
Portability – can give instant, on-site and online results.

Ultimately, by improving the efficiency of gas analyzers and offering more reliable results, we can cut down the costs significantly, and secure the health and safety of the employees handling shipping containers and the goods inside them. Let’s have a closer look at the benefits of what these 3 features hold:


As stated by Kristian Hentelä, Gasmet’s Product Engineer, non-specific technologies such as PIDs (photoionization detectors) respond to a fairly large number of different gases but do not provide much insight into what the true composition of the gas sample is. These kinds of measurements only serve as an indication that there is something other than pure air in the container – they cannot indicate whether or not gas is harmless like methane, or toxic like benzene.

Mapping out the concentrations of hazardous and non-hazardous gases helps avoid false alarms and time-consuming ventilations. Time is money in transportation, and ventilations cause unnecessary delays.

Multicomponent capacity

As the spectrum of possible gases in a container is vast, measuring each component separately is not feasible. Without prior knowledge about what is in the sample, it is difficult to know which components should be measured. This leads to a situation where the measurer would have to use a large amount of equipment or test tubes to have any confidence that the atmosphere is truly safe. This would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.

Therefore, gas analyzers need to be able to recognize a number of gases simultaneously. This improves the effectiveness and speed of the assessment, and thereby reduces risk to staff.


Lastly, it is vital that measurements are carried out swiftly without any delays in the analysis process. In most cases, there is no time to transport the samples or to wait for the test results.

It is also possible that samplings are not sufficient, or become unstable when being transported to the laboratory, which increases the risk of unreliability. By reducing the amount of equipment and bringing an easily portable instrument to the shipping containers, more accurate and timely results can be guaranteed. What is more, portable devices can offer instant results online.

Gasmet’s Portable GT5000 Terra Gas Analyzer Offers A Solution

Luckily, there are a few good options in the market to tackle the challenges. We firmly believe that Gasmet’s portable GT5000 Terra analyzer (successor to old DX4040) presents one of the best solutions on the market for monitoring gases. Here’s why:

The portable FTIR gas analyzers substantially reduce the amount of equipment required to test a container, but more importantly, they enable simultaneous analysis of a large number of target compounds, which improves the effectiveness and speed of assessment, thereby reducing risk to staff.

As our analyzer is portable and contains a complete sampling system, it can be used for measurements directly at the container, without the need to take a separate sample to a laboratory for analysis.

All in all, the GT5000 Terra analyzer has been developed to meet Gasmet’s clear goal to offer a cost-efficient solution to measure multiple gases quickly, accurately and reliably, improving the health and safety of employees.


Shipping Container Monitoring

A wide variety of test instruments are used for testing containers.  There is a growing movement to monitoring technologies that are able to measure large numbers of gases simultaneously while providing results on-the-spot.

Learn more about effective Shipping Container Monitoring

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