ISPM-15 applies to wood, wood packaging materials like dunnages, reels and collars, as well as other wooden items, such as bracing.
Alternative materials, such as paper, metal and engineered wood products like plywood, hardboard and oriented-strand board, are exempted from the standard. Note that ISPM-15 does not apply to shipments within a country.
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Requirements for ISPM-15
ISPM-15 states that all solid wood and wood packaging materials (WPMs) exceeding 6mm in thickness must be treated for export. This includes wooden pallets and dunnage, crating, and wooden pallets. WPM must be heated to 56°C or higher for at least 30 minutes during heat treatment. This is the best and most environmentally-friendly way to kill harmful pests in wood.
Fumigation is becoming less popular, so other options like dielectric or microwave heating as well as steaming/vacuuming are being looked at. Overall, heat treatment is still the industry standard.
After wood has been treated, the IPPC mark is applied to the wood. The mark also indicates the country of origin and treatment method of WPM.
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Compliance Services ISPM-15
Many organizations can help companies make sure that the wood packaging they use in export shipments is compliant with current ISPM-15 regulations. These organizations can provide information and inspection services, as well listing to help others in the industry.
Northeastern Lumber Manufacturer’s Association offers these services to companies that require ISPM-15 certification, verification and stamping for wood packaging used in exports. Since 1933, NELMA has been providing lumber grading quality inspections and compliance inspections. The website contains a directory that allows you to locate suppliers, wholesalers and mills as well as products and services. It also has a library with information resources and a list of inspection programs.
The Wooden Crates Organization is an international resource that lists domestic and international companies involved in export wood shipping. WCO provides information about inspection services and educates companies regarding the current regulations, as well as compliant crating processes for domestic shipping.
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ISPM-15 and the United States of America and Canada
The US and Canada are both members of the IPPC. They have adopted ISPM-15 regulations in order to keep international obligations. International shipments and any other transport of WPM to another country must be marked with the IPPC marking. The standard does not apply to pallets, crating or other WPM shipped between Canada, the United States, and is exempted.
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North American companies are worried that ISPM-15 will soon be in effect for cross-border pallet movements between Canada and the United States. Although it was expected that the exemption would be lifted in 2016 or 2017, the timeline to enact ISPM-15 between Canada, the United States and Canada remains uncertain.