Be aware of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM)!
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO
) of the United Nations has set-up conventions to prevent the spreading of organisms, which are harmful to plants or plant products. The International Plant Protection Convention
) has its secretariat located in FAO's Plant Protection Service. The IPPC is an international plant health agreement that aims to protect cultivated and wild plants by preventing the introduction and spread of pests. IPPC developed the ISPM15, called:
“Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade
A wide range of countries has adopted ISPM15 in their legislation, including the EU as a whole.
As commodities – and their wooden packing materials – move around the world, organisms that present risks to plants travel with them. As a Shipper or Shipper´s Agent, you are responsible
to comply with the phytosanitary regulations of the country of destination and the transhipment countries. It equally applies to dunnage materials added on behalf of the airline during ULD build-up.
Raw wood must be debarked (DB). Depending on specific country requirements, it must also be heat-treated (HT) or fumigated with methyl bromide (MB). Authorised producers identify approved wood by the ISPM15-mark.
The mark consists of the IPPC logo
+ a country code (shown as XX)
+ the approved producer code (shown as 000)
+ the treatment measure applied (shown as YY).
In this way, the mark allows for easy - but paperless -
verification that the wood meets the requirements.
Wood packaging material used outside the EU and destined to any of the EU countries must be:
- Made of debarked wood
- Heat-treated (code HT)
- Officially marked with the ISPM15-mark in a visible place.
Exemptions: No marking is required for:
- Wood of 6 mm thickness or less
- Wood packaging material processed by means of glue, pressure, heat, or a combination thereof. Examples: plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), or veneer.
- Wood packaging material used in intra-EU traffic.
- Products of alternative materials, like paper, plastic, Styrofoam, etc.
Phytosanitary authorities enforce these regulations, oftentimes in cooperation with customs.
Be aware that several countries require a fumigation certificate, even if the packing material bears the IPPC mark. Verify therefore at all times the ISPM website for the list of adhering countries
and their requirements.