ISPM 15 News: Timber Product Inspection Acquires Stafford Inspection

ISPM 15 Regulatory, Inspection and Compliance News for the International Shipment of Solid Wood Packaging Material


February 4, 2019

Timber Products Inspection, Inc. (TP) has announced that effective January 31, 2019, they have entered into an agreement to acquire Stafford Inspection & Consulting Services, LLC. (Stafford) which is currently headquartered in Orlando, Florida. Both TP and Stafford have been providing professional inspection and certification services for over 50 years and are well recognized in the Industry. This acquisition aligns with TP’s objective to strengthen their position in the lumber, export wood packaging, truss and log home markets which are their core businesses.

Jeremy Williams, Controller of TP commented “The management team at Stafford has always been committed to providing dependable services and has built their reputation as a solid company based on integrity. These values are in direct alignment with the values that TP has delivered to their clients. Our hope is that this acquisition will provide growth opportunities for both Stafford and TP employees”.

Stafford will operate as a subsidiary of WRD, TP’s parent company, and be headquartered out of Conyers, Georgia.

November 26, 2017

Canada’s “DRACONIAN” Rules for non-compliant wood

Milgram cautions in a recent article that evidence of insects at a Canadian port of entry may require the container be fumigated and exported back to the country of origin. There is a catch, however. “The CBSA/CFIA requires the container to be fumigated with methyl bromide before it is exported,” the article notes. “And right now, there does not seem to be any methyl bromide in Canada.”

The story reports that one Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) member has had a groupage container stuck at the Port of Halifax since October 6th. It reportedly took Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) 10 days to conduct the examination before issuing the fumigation and export order.  The forwarder was then advised that the required methyl bromide may be imported only around mid-December. “By that time, the container should have been reported to Queen’s Warehouse (after 40 days in the country) and the demurrage charges will probably be worth more than the container contents,” the article notes.

The container was fumigated in India prior to export and was accompanied by a fumigation certificate. “Fumigation is not acceptable for importation to Canada. So, tell your agents to stop having Canadian-destined containers fumigated – it is a waste of time and money. Do instruct your agents to load only ISPM 15 compliant and marked wood packaging,” Milgram advises.

November 18, 2017

The North American Sea Container Initiative

To protect North American agriculture, forestry and natural resources against the introduction of invasive pests and diseases, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have worked with U.S. and Canadian border protection agencies, shippers and global shipping companies to develop the following guidance for cleaning and inspecting sea containers. This guidance complements the International Maritime Organization’s Code of Practice for Packing Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code). Everyone involved in moving containers has an opportunity to protect our crops, forests, and livestock by ensuring that containers and their cargo are free from unwanted plants, plant products, insects, snails, soil, animals and animal droppings.

November 17, 2017.

EPAL Launches ISPM 15 Compliant CP Pallet Certification Program

With the maxim “the chemistry is right”, the European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL) is launching the independently quality-assured EPAL CP pallets at its press conference in Düsseldorf. This expands EPAL’s existing and highly successful load carrier portfolio with nine more quality-assured wooden load carriers in order to play a supporting role in the chemicals industry and elsewhere. All EPAL CP pallets are treated in compliance with ISPM 15 standard and suitable for the international movement of goods.

Read more.

November 2017

Timber Products Inspection Clarifies Requirements for Wood Packaging Material Entering Canada from the U.S.

If you need guidance on solid wood packaging requirements for entry from the U.S. into Canada, including wood pallets, TP recently outlined the requirements in its November 2017 newsletter. Timber Products Inspection (TP) is an independent, third party wood products inspection, testing and consulting company. TP’s corporate office is located in Conyers, GA, with an additional facility in Vancouver, Washington. The company provides professional forest inspection services to most of the wood products industry.

Canada Bound WPM Review   

In 2005, an exemption was established for the movement of wood packaging material (WPM) from the U.S. to Canada.  In speaking with Tyrone Jones, USDA Director of Forest Products, this standard works conversely between the two countries and for review, the exemption specifies in part:

  • All WPM entering or transiting Canada except wood of U.S. origin entering from the U.S., must be heat treated or fumigated and be marked with an approved logo (IPPC Mark) certifying that it has been treated.
  • Shipments containing non-compliant WPM will not be allowed to enter Canada.
  • This exemption applies only to the “Continental United States”.  Wood from Hawaii and U.S. territories is not included in the exemption.

The exemption applies to both WPM shipping as a commodity and WPM bearing product.  In some situations, a declaration is required to document the origin of the wood used to build the WPM as being sourced from the Continental United States.

A declaration is not required on:

  • ISPM 15 conforming WPM with all material having proper IPPC marks (U.S. or foreign).

A declaration is required on:

  • WPM constructed from wood of Continental U.S. origin with no marks.
  • ISPM 15 conforming WPM with foreign IPPC markings shipped along with unmarked WPM constructed from wood of Continental U.S. origin.  (Without this declaration, the unmarked pallets will be considered not of U.S. origin and denied entry into Canada.)

On Repaired WPM:

  • Repaired WPM not of U.S. origin will need to be treated and IPPC marked to legally gain entry into Canada from the U.S.
  • Companies trying to send repaired WPM with obliteration marks into Canada will need to have enough knowledge of the wood origin to convince Canadian Customs it is U.S. or Canadian sourced. Since this will be almost impossible with properly obliterated marks, it will be best to treat and remark the WPM.
  • Repaired and untreated WPM with obliterated marks attempting entry into Canada could be considered a sign of fraud by Canadian Customs even with a declaration and entry may be denied.

It is important that facilities and their customers are aware of this standard in order to avoid costly delays at the border and potential loss of business.

For more information, visit

October 2017

ISPM 15 Announcement by U.S. CBP Sends Waves Through Industry

An announcement by CBP led to numerous communications and substantial confusion about the impending changes. For cross-border trade between Canada and the U.S., domestically sourced timber is still exempt.

ISPM 15 Requirements Have Not Changed, But Enforcement Is Tightening

An announcement by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in late September 2017 resulted in a scramble as brokers and shippers sought to understand and communicate the changes to their customers and trading partners.

The main point is that the U.S. is stepping up enforcement of ISPM 15 regarding solid wood packaging entering the U.S. Previously, five violations in a calendar year were typically allowed before penalties were assessed, with an annual reset. Now penalties may be issued at the first violation.

ISPM 15 is an established program, implemented several years ago to help prevent the transfer of harmful timber pests internationally. Nonexempt wood packaging material (WPM) imported into the United States must have been treated at approved facilities and display a visible, legible, and permanent mark certifying treatment, preferably in at least 2 sides of the article. The mark must be approved under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in its International Standards of Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15) Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade (

The announcement (shown later in this article) did not acknowledge the exemption for Canada when lumber of Canadian origin is used in solid wood packaging and pallets, prompting concern that the Canadian exemption had been removed.

To clarify, ISPM 15 requirements for import into the U.S. have not changed. For exports from Canada, wood of Canadian origin does not require treatment or ISPM-15 stamp, although the Canadian origin should be noted on the customs declaration. For wood not originating in Canada, the ISPM 15 stamp is required. For other countries, as per present practice, compliance with ISPM 15 is required.

Watch Out for Common Mistakes

The reduced tolerance for violations is a signal for shippers to fully comply with ISPM 15. Brian Isard, the general manager of the Canadian Wood Pallet and Container Association, urges supply chain participants to “not take any shortcuts”. Common mistakes which lead to trouble for shipment to U.S. and other international destinations include stamps that are not clearly legible, the use of non-compliant, non-stamped blocking and bracing, or the use of dunnage stamped material for crating.
Brokers and others are advising shippers to purchase solid wood packaging and pallets from ISPM 15 certified providers in order to avoid problems at the port of entry. “People who are not using proper timber – watch out,” Isard cautioned.


The announcement marks a tightening of enforcement rather than a change of ISPM 15 requirements.




USDA clarifies the exemption for timber of Canadian origin in this recent update.

Isard notes that further information relevant to Canada (Table 3-167, page 202) and other countries can be found in the APHIS Miscellaneous and Processed Products Import Manual.




Trade Notice

Issuance of Penalties as a Consequence of Wood Packaging Material

Pursuant to U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 7 CFR § 319.40-3 (effective since September 16, 2005), non-exempt wood packaging material (WPM) imported into the United States must have been treated at approved facilities at places of origin to kill harmful timber pests that may be present.  The WPM must display a visible, legible, and permanent mark certifying treatment, preferably in at least 2 sides of the article.  The mark must be approved under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in its International Standards of Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15) Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade (  Any WPM from foreign origin found to be lacking appropriate IPPC-compliant markings or found to be infested with a timber pest is considered not properly treated to kill timber pests and in violation of the regulation.  The responsible party (importer, carrier, or bonded custodian) for the violative WPM must adhere to the Emergency Action Notification stipulations and be responsible for any costs or charges associated with disposition.

The purpose of the WPM requirement is to prevent the introduction of exotic timber pests.  Introduced exotic pests lack the natural environmental controls that may be found in their respective native lands to keep them in check.  When exotic timber pests go unchecked they can cause widespread tree mortality with detrimental ecological impacts.  Additionally, there may be economic impact for the lumber, fruit, and nut industries, as well as the loss of horticultural trees.  Eradication efforts can prove to be very expensive and ineffective once an exotic pest is introduced, as is the case with the Emerald Ash Borer which was introduced with infested WPM.  Therefore, preventing introduction is critical with these exotic pests.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for enforcing the regulation at ports of entry.  To motivate WPM compliance, effective November 1, 2017, responsible parties with a documented WPM violation may be issued a penalty under Title 19 United States Code (USC) § 1595a(b) or under 19 USC § 1592.  This is a change from the previous published threshold of 5 violations.  There will be no yearly reset for calculating repeat violations as each WPM violation may incur a penalty.

As trade industry members, you are encouraged to educate your supply chains about ISPM 15 requirements.  Informational material on WPM is available from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.