Author: John Shawyer is Director of Associated Pallets
For any company that exports goods around the world, it is essential that any wood packaging you use complies with ISPM15 regulations. This will help prevent any delays or additional costs being incurred when goods reach their destination.
What is ISPM15?
ISPM15 (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No15) is the internationally recognised standard for wood packaging that is governed by the International Plant Protection Committee (IPPC). In the UK, these regulations are governed by the Forestry Commission.
The regulations relate to all wood used in packaging materials that is over 6mm thick, including pallets and crates. Any packaging that uses 100% manufactured products, including plywood and chipboard and no sawn timber, is exempt from the rules.
In order to comply with ISPM 15 pallets and other wooden packing products need to be either heat treated or fumigated to the agreed standard and by an approved supplier. For heat treated wood, it must reach a minimum temperature of 56oC for at least 30 minutes.
Once this has occurred they can be stamped with the unique manufacturer’s number, allowing them to be quickly and easily identified in transit. If you are purchasing wooden packaging products, then you need to ensure that your supplier complies with the regulations and they are registered with the Forestry Commission.
Once your shipment reaches its destination country, it will be checked by border control to ensure it meets the regulations. If the packaging is not stamped or the stamp cannot be read, the goods could be rejected or impounded, leading to significant delays and costs.
Which countries use ISPM15?
The regulations apply to shipments that are exported outside the EU. ISPM15 has now been implemented by a number of countries worldwide, including:
Republic of Korea (South Korea)
Taiwan (includes Taipei), Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu
Why was ISPM15 introduced?
Unprocessed raw wood can be a factor in the spread of diseases and pests, including Asian Longhorn Beetle and Pine Wood Nematode. Following the introduction of ISPM 15 pallets and crates that have been effectively treated have helped to prevent these being transported between countries. The rules are also designed to protect global tree and forest stocks, encouraging suppliers to be more sustainable.