The IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) developed a treatment standard for wooden packaging materials used in international shipping called ISPM-15 (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures). This shows the material has been treated against possible parasites such as beetles, termites and larvae. If you are shipping palletised goods internationally on wooden pallets, crates and/or wooden packaging you must ensure it is treated and stamped.
The IPPC Standard ISPM-15
The ISPM-15 standard allows for two treatment methods:
- Heat Treatment (Stamp code: HT)
- Fumigation (Stamp code: MB)
Heat treatment is the most popular method due to the environmental concerns caused by the use of methyl bromide, which is used in the fumigation process. During heat treatment the wooden packaging is heated until the minimum core temperature reaches 56c for at least 30 minutes in a heat treatment chamber. Treatment often also includes debarking of the wood and is often also shown as DB (debarked) on the IPPC stamp.
What Materials are covered by ISPM-15?
Any softwood or hardwood packaging including:
- Wedges or braces
Material that is made out of manufactured wood created using glue; heat or pressure such as plywood, chipboard or fibreboard (such as MDF or HDF) is not covered by ISPM-15 and does not require treatment or a treatment stamp.
The IPPC Stamp
After treatment the packing material is stamped with an IPPC stamp to show:
- The IPPC symbol
- Country of origin (by country code)
- Registration number of the company who carried out the treatment
- Type of treatment
The full ISPM-15 regulation of wood packaging material in international trade document is available to view here.
To see my analysis of how this could become an issue for UK companies after Brexit see my article on Ready for Brexit here.