A stinky situation in the land down under

August 1, 2019

In the Phytosanitary Corner section of this month’s edition you will find some details about new measures to protect against the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug required for those shipping to Australia which begin September 1.  These details were also emailed to those of you to whom we provide inspection services.  Fortunately, those of you who supply pallets and other wood packaging destined for the land down under currently do not have to take many more steps in addition to conforming to ISPM-15.  However, having said that, please make sure that you read the information thoroughly and understand what you need to do for your clients who are shipping to Australia with regards to your wood packaging. 

The new Australian measures highlight a growing global focus on contaminating or “hitchhiker” pests in or on imported commodities and the vessels used to ship them.  The increase in focus is such that we have recently been named to a North American Plant Protection Organization committee dealing with these pests, and how we best address them.  ISPM-15 has done a really good job helping to mitigate the spread of wood boring pests, however does not lay any claims as far as being an effective tool where contaminating pests are concerned, as it specifically targets wood boring pests that are largely host specific.

What does it mean, and if not related to ISPM-15, why am I affected?

These contaminating pests are much more opportunistic in their choice of host, and may be found hitchhiking on a wider range of commodities. As such, they are much harder to guard against; hence the range of products that the Australian measures cover. 

However, by Australia omitting wood packaging from their target commodities and accepting ISPM-15 certification on wood packaging it puts the onus of responsibility on wood packaging producers to ensure that products manufactured under the guise of their HT Program certification meet or exceed the international standards where Australia is concerned.  While we may not be able to prevent contamination on our products once they leave our facilities, maintaining high standards in choice of materials, application of the IPPC marks, bark tolerances, and the use of the required Australian Wood Packaging Declarations will aid in keeping wood packaging off of their radar and hopefully non-impactful to trade. 

Should wood packaging fall under scrutiny, there is a likelihood that it will end up subject to the same measures as the target commodities, which domestically, would entail running the packaging through a an approved treatment source, registered with the Australian Government, and then ensuring that it is underload, and loaded into the shipping vessel within five days of treatment.  These measures would be highly unachievable for the most part, and the backup plan is that all goods shipped on or in wood packaging and heading for Australia will require treatment once they arrive.  Even non target commodities shipped on or in wood packaging would now find themselves subject to treatment.  Bearing that in mind, your clients may be compelled to look at alternative packaging options other than wood if the target
commodity list is expanded to include wood packaging.

We will  keep you posted with any updates regarding the Australia situation, but in the meantime, we encourage you all to ensure that you identify your clients who are shipping to Australia and have some discussion on this subject. Ensuring that you and your clients follow the guidelines for not only ISPM-15 compliance, but also the packaging declaration requirements, will aid significantly in ensuring that wood remains the best option for our clients exporting product to Australia.


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