Wood packaging, ISPM 15, fumigation and heat treatment
Any wood packaging used for the protection, support and/or transport of goods, has to comply with ISPM 15 standards in an ever growing number of countries.
The abbreviation ISPM 15 stands for International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures, and these standards were implemented by the IPPC, the International Plant Protection Convention. This worldwide standard of phytosanitary measures on wood packaging was implemented in March of 2002, in order to put an end to restrictions encountered worldwide, caused by a jumble of ever varying import restrictions on wood.
Amongst other things, ISPM 15 states that wood packaging and stowage materials need to have been treated, in order to eliminate the risk of contamination of vermin and harmful organisms. Wood which has been treated in accordance with ISPM demands, must be branded with the official IPPC mark. This mark cancels out the need for a phytosanitary certificate.
If upon arrival at a port of destination, the wood is found not to comply with ISPM 15 standards, the cargo may be confiscated by customs, sent back or even destroyed. The costs of any of these will be charged to either the shipper or the consignee.
Methods of treatment
There are two possible ways to treat the wood as required;
- Fumigation: The wood is chemically treated
- Heat treatment: The wood is heated to 56°C for a period of 30 minutes
Heat treatment is the norm in Europe. In the past, a frequently used method was gassing with Methylbromide (MB), but because this method is very harmful to the environment, it has been banned in Europe since 2010.
A growing number of countries demand the consumer abides by the ISPM 15 standards. For shipments within the European union the standards do not apply.
A list of countries that do require you to adhere to the ISPM 15 standard, can be found here;
- Costa Rica
- All countries in the European Union
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Sri Lanka
- South Africa
- South Korea
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