For international shipments in air or sea freight, it is a requirement for the pieces to be crated. The wood exterior provides full protection while the custom-cut immobilizes the item to reduce the chance of breakage. Crating can push the price of shipment up. In case the goods are already packed in a wood crate suitable for export shipping and placed on pallet, Convelio partners will collect and deliver the goods in the same packing condition. At Convelio, we are frequently asked about best packing practices for wood crating-hence this article would be of a great help to comply with the international Standards For Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15).
1- What is ISPM 15 ?
ISPM 15 is an international phytosanitary measure developed by the international plant protection convention which is in charge of addressing issues related to the treatment of wood of a thickness greater than 6mm used to ship goods across countries.
2- Why does ISPM 15 exist?
The main goal of ISPM 15 is to prevent the spread of disease and insects that could negatively affect plants or ecosystems. ISPM 15 affects all wood packaging materials, such as pallets and crates requiring that to be debarked, heat treated, fumigated and stamped or branded with a mark of compliance.
3- What happens when wood packaging does not comply and it is shipped anyway?
Each country has different rules. Some countries will either fumigate the package and charge a premium rate, while others will deny the shipment or even incinerate it. This is why wood crating compliance is extremely important and requires a true expertise.
4- Can I simply buy ISPM 15 certified wood?
No, ISPM 15 certification is a quality control program hence “ISPM 15 certified wood” doesn’t exist. The IPPC certification mark acts as a quality control program which is licensed to registered wood packaging producers. These registered facilities apply the IPPC stamp to the finished pallets, crates, boxes, etc.. Building a pallet/box/crate from lumber that has the original HT mark visible on each piece is not advised. The IPPC mark certifies the entire wood packaging items.
5- How do I prove that the wood packaging produced is ISPM15 compliant?
The IPPC mark presented below is stamped on the wood packaging which needs to be applied to minimum two opposite sides and certifies that all solid wood met the heat treatment.
6- Can I repair or reuse or build on to IPPC marked wood packaging from another manufacturer?
You can reuse certified wood packaging as long as you don’t modify it by removing components. If it needs repair, you would need to retreat. This needs to be done by a certified fumigator. Nevertheless, you are allowed to build on to existing wood packaging which was already been certified, assuming that the existing portion of the container is not modified and the added material is also certified and heat-treated. Example: build a frame using HT lumber on top of a certified pallet - the only thing is that the IPPC stamp would be placed only on the frame added.
7- What is bark-free wood?
Bark free wood means that wood from which all bark - excluding the vascular cambium, ingrown bark around knots and bark pockets between rings of annual growth - is completely removed. Barks found in the wane area are not acceptable and would need to be removed prior to shipment. The list of countries that requires Bark free wood can be found here.
8- Can I use a phytosanitary certificate to certify my product as ISPM 15 compliant?
USA and Canada will not issue phytosanitary certificates for wood packaging when the wood packaging is not the commodity being shipped.
9- What would be an alternative to wood crating?
An alternative to wood crating would be the use of paper alternative. Indeed, many new innovative businesses are launching fibreboard technology that takes the visual resemblance of bee’s honeycomb. A honeycomb structure has minimal weight and highly compressive strength which offers rigidity. This technique allows one to avoid the ISPM-15 compliance. Furthermore, it is eco-friendly and non toxic for the environment (no fumigated gas).
10- What would be the alternative to wood pallets?
A good alternative to wood pallets would be presswood pallets which are made from ‘patented material’ and are not subject to the regulation of solid wood. These pallets are made by dried wood chips compressed and loulded under high pressure and temperature. They are regarded as ‘processed wood’ and hence constitute the perfect problem-free pallet for exports all over the world. Find out more about these pallets on the ISPM-15 official website. The use of this kind of pallets can help you save 50% in storage space and also lower the transport cost (affordable prices). Furthermore, the presswood pallet are environmental friendly and are 100% made of recycled material.
I hope you found this article useful and that it gave you a full grasp of what ISPM 15 is. At Convelio, we work with the best wood craters in the industry all over Europe and abroad and we are happy to share our expertise.
Sources: International Plant Protection Convention (2019), Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau (2019), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2019), ISPM-15 Official Website (2019)