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What is ISPM 15 and Why it Matters

Are you importing timber products?

In summary:


Are you importing to Australia on timber pallets or using timber or bamboo dunnage? Have you thought about the compliance regulations when importing this material? 

Australia has strict bio-security regulations to control infestations of exotic pests into the country. If you are importing packaging or products made of wood you should be aware of ISPM 15 compliance.

Read on to understand what ISPM 15 is and how it can affect you!

What is ISPM 15?

International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs), provide regulations for trading goods internationally. The measures particularly focus on products that can have a direct impact on global bio-security. 

ISPM 15 is the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures Publication No. 15 (2009): Regulation of Wood Packaging Material in International Trade’

The publication outlines the standards regulating the movement of timber products and packaging through international trade and aims to prevent the global spread of timber pests.

What Products Do ISPM 15 Apply To?

If you have imported before, you may have heard ISPM 15 referenced in relation to pallets. However ISPM 15 affects coniferous (softwood) and non-coniferous (hardwood) raw wood packaging material. This includes pallets, dunnage, crating, packing blocks, drums, cases, spools/reels, bulk heads, load boards, pallet collars and skids. 

Australia applies ISPM 15 under the following cases outlined in Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON):

    • ‘Timber and bamboo packaging’ for packaging imported as a commodity – e.g. a consignment of wooden pallets imported for use in Australia.
    • ‘Non-commodity’ for packaging used to support other commodities – e.g. wooden pallets used to support a consignment of other goods.

    If you are importing into Australia you should check that your timber or bamboo packaging is compliant with ISPM 15. If not, Australia offers alternative treatment options and will accept packaging that can meet the alternative requirements outlined in BICON. 

    What is Considered ISPM 15 Compliant Packaging?

    ISPM 15 compliant packaging is considered as such if:

    • It meets the ISPM 15 bark tolerance requirements
    • Has undergone an ISPM 15 approved treatment by an appropriately certified treatment provider or manufacturer and has been marked appropriately

    The good news is that once your packaging has been treated and is deemed compliant it will remain as such, provided no alterations are made to the packaging. Be warned however, that treatment does not offer permanent protection against pests and should packaging pose a biosecurity threat on arrival, it will be ordered for treatment, re-exported or destroyed. 

    How is ISPM 15 Compliant Packaging Identified?

    Fortunately, it is quite simple to identify ISPM 15 compliant packaging as it will usually bear the following stamp:

    image of ISPM 15 internationally recognised certification mark

    The Department of Agriculture explains:

    An ISPM 15, internationally recognised certification mark, must include the following:

    • IPPC certification symbol (this is a registered trade mark).
    • XX: represents the two letter ISO country code where the wood was treated.
    • 000: represents the unique certification number (which ensures that the wood packaging material can be traced back to the treatment provider and/or manufacturer).
    • YY: is the treatment abbreviation where:
      • HT: is the code for heat treatment using conventional steam or dry kiln heat chamber to a minimum of 56º C for a minimum of 30 minutes
      • MB: is the code for methyl bromide fumigation
      • DH: is the code for heat treatment using dielectric heat 

    Other information such as the date of manufacture, batch number, company name or logo, may also be included outside of the border of the mark, provided that it is not confusing, deceptive or misleading.

    What Next?

    If you are considering importing products into Australia and your packaging or pallets are made of wood, check with your supplier that the packaging meets the ISPM 15 compliant requirements. If they are not, give the team at ICE a call and discuss alternative options for treatment on 1300 CARGO1.

    Don’t hesitate! Call us today and ensure your product or packaging is compliant prior to importing! 

    Request a Free Quote or call us on 1300 227 461

    Find Out How Our Team Can Help

    Our team are ready to take your call on 1300 CARGO1

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