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What is ISPM 15?

January 2020

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ISPM 15 is not as complicated as it sounds. It stands for the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures no.15 and simply refers to the required international standards of treatment that must be applied to solid wood used to ship products between countries.

If a country has adopted ISPM 15 regulations, there is a set of criteria that must be met when shipping products internationally using any solid wood packaging, such as a box, crate, pallet, dunnage, drums or packing cases.


Why was ISPM 15 introduced?

The organisms that live inside wood can actually be parasitic, and these organisms can be highly invasive and can negatively affect another country’s plants or ecosystems. Numerous countries around the world were becoming concerned about the global spread of these diseases and pests through wood packaging such as pallets and shipping these wood pallets had become a high risk pathway for the introduction of exotic insect pests and plant pathogens.


For example, in America and Canada there is a microscopic pest called the Pinewood Nematode. If this gets into other continents, it can be very hazardous to their native trees. Similarly, China has the Asian Longhorn Beetle which is harmful to the native trees of the United States and Canada..

ISPM 15 was developed to prevent any further spread of these pests or diseases and to limit or reduce the chances of these pests and diseases harming native flora and fauna. It’s not compulsory, but many of the leading countries involved in international trade have adopted it, including the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. ISPM 15 ensures that solid wood is treated in a particular way, making it as safe as possible when travelling between different parts of the world.


What are the ISPM 15 regulations?

What you need to do in terms of ISPM 15 regulations depends on whether you’re importing or exporting. If you are importing solid wood packaging from outside the EU, it must meet the ISPM 15 international standards. If you are exporting packaging outside of the EU, check if the country that you’re trading with accepts ISPM 15 standards and if they have any other requirements.

The regulations require that all non-exempt wood packaging material, be it hardwood or softwood, must be heat treated to the core for 30 minutes at 56 degrees celsius, or be fumigated with Methyl Bromide. Before it’s fumigated or heat treated, all wood used for wood packaging needs to also be debarked. This is to stop the wood becoming re-infested with pests while it is waiting to be made into packaging.


Once treated, a business that has been previously approved by an accredited inspection agency must apply the quality treatment mark, which is commonly applied as an ink stamp, stencil or brand made clearly visible on the exterior surface of the wood packaging. When the wood has been treated and the quality mark has been applied, it is officially ISPM 15 compliant and it doesn’t require any further treatment.

There are certain types of wood that the ISPM 15 regulations don’t apply to, such as any processed woods, wood less than 6mm thick, cardboard, sawdust, wood wool and wood shavings or veneer peeler core. These are considered low risk.


What happens if my wood packaging is not ISPM 15 compliant?

Each country is different but if you don’t follow the ISPM 15 regulations, your packaging might be fumigated (contents and all) and your shipper may be charged a premium rate. Some will simply reject your packaging, your packaging might be destroyed and buried in landfill and in worst cases the entire shipment can be rejected and returned back to origin at the original cost .

ISPM 15 standards are to be taken seriously, so make sure that you, your packing service or your freight forwarder meets the requirements.


How can Pinnacle Freight help?

When you choose Pinnacle Freight for your shipping needs, our experienced packing team will assess the requirements of each shipment, ensuring that your goods are suitably packed and protected. Our services include case and pallet supplies, site packing services, bespoke packaging solutions and of course, ISPM 15 certification.


If you’d like to know more, contact us today. We’ve been providing excellent services in worldwide logistics for almost 50 years, proving ourselves to be a reputable and reliable freight forwarder.

Our experienced staff and in-house IT capability allow us to offer a first-class service in all areas of global logistics. If you’re in the UK, give us a call on 0 845 6216 11 or drop us an email at enquiry@pif.co.uk. If you’re in the USA, call us on +1 757 306 1211 or email us at inquiry@pinnaclefreight.com. Alternatively, you can request a quote.

 

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