What is ISPM15 and what does it mean to you?
03 Jul 2013
ISPM 15 is an important regulation for any company that imports or exports between specific countries. Failure to comply with the rules could have serious cost and time implications for your business and cause inconvenience for your supply chain. Therefore, it is important that you understand exactly what ISPM15 is and how it affects you.
What is ISPM15?
ISPM15 is now the recognised standard for wood packaging products in over 200 countries. In order to comply with ISPM15 pallets and all other wood products over 6mm thick used in the transportation of goods need to meet the agreed standards.
The wood needs to be debarked and then either heat treated or fumigated with the required level of approved products. Heat treated wood pallets must be subjected to temperatures of at least 56oC for a minimum of 30 minutes. When the wood has been successfully treated, it will be stamped with a unique mark which identifies the manufacturer and is used by the ports to ensure that the product complies with the regulations.
With the introduction of ISPM15 pallets and other wooden packaging materials have been effectively treated to help stop the spread of pests and diseases across the world. Without these regulations, there could have been irreparable damage caused to the global ecosystems and diseases would have proliferated amongst the local population.
How does it affect you?
ISPM15 is now the approved standard in over 200 countries across the world. You need to ensure that you abide by the regulations for any shipments that travel outside of the EU. It’s important that you check the destination country for any additional requirements that you must comply with.
Any wood packing you use must be obtained from a reputable supplier who complies with the regulations and, if in the UK, is registered with the Forestry Commission. By purchasing from approved sources, your materials will be stamped to confirm that they comply with the regulations. This will ensure that they are allowed through the border controls when checked.
Failure to do so could mean that your goods are not allowed to leave the port of origin. Alternatively, they could be returned or impounded by the destination port. You would then be responsible for either the cost of shipping the goods back or destroying or treating the relevant packaging.
There are some exceptions to the regulations. ISPM15 does not apply to wood that is less than 6mm thick, for example fruit boxes, or spirit and wine boxes. You can also use packaging that is produced from 100% manufactured products, such as plywood or chipboard.
ISPM15 might seem like just another set of regulations, but its introduction has made an important step towards the safe movement of goods across the globe.