The rules for Wood Packaging Material (WPM) compliance changed dramatically in 2006 with 163 signatory governments and administration through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, introducing new higher standards to prevent the import of damaging pests into countries via timber used in packaging.

These IPPC rules have become the world-wide standard. They allow only two types of processing operations to kill bugs, heat treatment (HT) or fumigation with methyl bromide (MT). Every piece of wood (with some small size exceptions) must be properly and permanently marked with the IPPC logo as required by ISPM 15 and with codes identifying the country and facility where treatment occurred and the type of treatment applied.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has recently (February 2013) issued a 53 page Outreach document reinforcing the on-going efforts to monitor and enforce the requirements applicable to importation of Wood Packaging Material (WPM). This document notes ‘………the devastating ecological and economic damages caused [by] invasive forest pests now in the US from Non-compliant WPM’ and the ‘……….many non-compliant WPM instances documented by Agriculture Specialists at Ports of entry (POE) within the US.’ The extensive presentation demonstrates the attention given to this issue by CBP.

Many importers of basic steel mill products have found that agricultural issues with packing materials have recently been among the most difficult and expensive problems encountered in clearing goods. Some issues involve non-wood problems such as agricultural items used as desiccants or residues left over in a hold from a previous shipment.

Source AIIS