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ISPM 15 | International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15

08 Jun 2017

ISPM 15 is an international standard that is slowly but surely becoming an international requirement for phytosanitary measures. While more than two dozen countries have already adopted the standard, a further twenty are currently implementing the changes, and another hundred have stated their intention to follow suit. This includes many European Union countries as well as the United States, but the list is extensive and is continuing to grow. If you are in the industry and deal with products like heat treated pallets to transport your goods, you’ll want to know more about ISPM15 and what it means to you.

The History of ISPM15

ISPM15, or the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15, has been developed by the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) with the aim of cutting down (if not cutting out) pests that are often associated with the movement of packaging material made from raw wood across international borders. In essence, the standard has been designed to stop wood packaging being a means of transmission for pests that might end up causing harm to living trees.

How ISPM15 Affects the Packaging Material You Use

So how does ISPM 15 affect the packaging material that you use? The international standard affects the cost of packaging due the extra work required in ensuring that it complies with it. This quest for compliance can also then lead to delays in shipping and potentially result in customer dissatisfaction, creating strained relationships between customer and manufacturer. Because the standard relates to packaging made from raw wood only, this implicates structures made from wood fastened together, like crates. As such, warehouse owners must educate themselves on the regulation.

Warehouse owners will be pleased to know that the regulations are not binding for heat treated wooden pallets or those that have been put through any other type of process involving heat, pressure, glue or similar methods. This means that materials like plywood, chipboard and fibreboard need not comply, but solid timber or pine crates do. The reason for this is that manufacturing processes carried out to treat the wood are effective enough in ensuring that harmful creatures and diseases have been destroyed and can’t be transmitted. Following this revelation, your first thought might be ‘where can I source heat treated pallets near me?’.

ISPM15 Marking

To indicate compliance with ISPM 15, wooden products must display an identifiable mark. There are three marks related to the standard: HT Mark, IPCC Mark and IMMC DUN (Dunnage) Mark. The first is used on individual wood components and is itself made up of three elements, including an agency trademark, a facility number and the letters ‘HT’, all of which must be visible and legible. This Mark does not replace the IPPC Mark – rather it links the site treating the raw product to the place that will certify completed WPM. The IPPC Mark can be found on items like boxes and pallets. It includes the three elements of the HT Mark yet additionally includes a country code and the treaty’s wheat symbol twice. Finally, the latter is found in wood packaging that is used for blocking or bracing. On top of the five aforementioned elements, this Mark requires the piece to bear the term ‘DUN’. This will be repeated if the dunnage is transported to another facility.

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