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Freight from the USA

Fumigation Certificate

Announcement on shipping cargo from the USA to Australia and New Zealand!: Since 2019, ocean freight to Oceania cannot be loaded unless a copy of the fumigation certificate in a proper form is submitted. Otherwise, cargo must be fumigated at the ocean freight carrier's facility for the typical fee of $30 w/m with a minimum of $100-$300 per shipment, depending on the carrier. The price will be included in the carrier's ocean freight. If cargo arrives in Australia or New Zealand during the BMSB season, but shippers do not provide a valid fumigation certificate or decline to fumigate their cargo by the ocean freight carrier, we cannot serve such shipments. 

Wood-packing and fumigation

International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15) is the global standard for Phytosanitary Measures concerning Wooden Packaging. It was introduced in March 2002 to end the worldwide trade impediments due to a maze of import restrictions for wooden packaging. ISPM 15 stipulates, among other things, that wooden packaging must be treated to prevent the spread of vermin.

Wood-packing, which has been treated following ISPM demands, must be branded with the official IPPC mark. This mark cancels out the need for a phytosanitary certificate. If the wood does not comply with ISPM 15 standards upon arrival at a destination port, the cargo may be confiscated by customs, sent back, or destroyed. Any of these costs will be charged to either the shipper or the consignee.

Send items from USA

In respect of international cargo transportation from the USA, a fumigation certificate is also known as a 'pest control certificate.'

A fumigation certificate may apply to wooden packing or the entire cargo. If it applies to cargo, it is proof that the cargo shipping out of the U.S. was fumigated or sterilized before departure. It contains details of the treatment used, such as the temperature range, chemicals, concentration, etc.

ISPM15 in international shipping

In respect of shipping from the U.S., unless you use raw wood in packaging or shipping to Oceania, most of the time, the fumigation certificate is not a mandatory export document. However, as long as the fumigation certificate is required, it assists in the quarantine clearance of cargo upon arrival at the destination.

A certified fumigator should complete the fumigation of cargo exporting from the USA before international transportation. Regarding shipping from the U.S. freight LCL, fumigation must be completed before cargo delivery to an ocean freight carrier's terminal (Container Freight Station - CFS).

Due to the implementation of BMSB regulations in shipping freight to Australia and New Zealand, many ocean freight carriers began offering fumigation services for cargo delivered to CFS.

If not completed and fully documented at the origin, the fumigation may be done at the destination. Upon the arrival of cargo to the destination country, OR in international shipments with transshipments at a time of transshipments, i.e., when cargo shipping from the USA will be reloaded from one container/vessel to another for shipping to the final destination. However, it can be costly, result in delays, and lead to storage or demurrage charges on top of the fumigation.

Please remember that obtaining a fumigation certificate for shipping cargo from the USA is the shipper's responsibility. A Fumigation Certificate can be obtained from a local fumigation company. Unless you are a professional exporter, we highly recommend fumigating cargo with the ocean freight carrier used in your international shipping, if possible.


Do not confuse wood-packing restrictions with cargo fumigation.

At a glance, these rules in fumigating cargo shipping from the USA may appear quite complicated. To simplify, separate wood-packing and cargo fumigation.

1. In international cargo transportation, importing countries make fumigation compulsory for wood-packing materials that contain raw wood. However, importing countries do not require fumigation for cardboard boxes, plywood, plastic, and other "man-made" packing materials that do not contain raw wood. Such "man-made" wood-packing materials are produced under high temperatures and pressure. All the insects in these wood-packing materials will be killed during production because of high temperatures and pressure.

Because of no insects, "man-made" wood-packing materials will not require to be fumigated for international shipping from the USA. Therefore, if you do not use raw wood materials in packaging cargo for international transportation OR use certified ISPM 15 stamped wood, no fumigation certificate is required for shipping abroad from the USA.

Using alternative packing materials such as plastic packing materials (plastic pallets, crates, etc.) has become increasingly popular in the international cargo transportation industry due to its full compliance with the ISM 15 rules.

2. However, if you're shipping goods to a country requiring fumigating an entire shipment containing high-risk commodities, mainly shipping cargo from the U.S. to Australia and New Zealand, you must fumigate your entire shipment anyway.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) regulations for Oceania

Ocean freight carriers have implemented the following Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) fumigation requirements for shipping freight from the USA to Oceania:

The seasonal measures for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) regulations are outlined on the respective websites of Australia's Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) and New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).
Shippers and forwarders should be guided by their consignees and consignees' customs brokers regarding the regulation's applicability to their shipments. Due to the nature of the requirements, the cost for non-compliance and the expense for onshore treatment in Australia / New Zealand will be for the consignee account and could be significant.
In short, the regulation requires that all shipments deemed high risk by DAWR and MPI standards be treated before loading from high-risk origin countries. The USA is on the list. With consolidated cargo, the rule states that if one shipment in the container is considered high risk, the entire container is regarded as high risk.
For this reason, ocean freight carriers will require that all shippers review the requirements to determine their shipment's risk and determine whether the cargo requires fumigation. Ocean freight carriers will require a signed declaration from the shipper before considering any shipment for loading.
Typically, ocean freight carriers will be providing fumigation services for LCL at load ports and gateways, and the below measures will be in effect:

  • A completed BMSB form will be required for all shipments.
  • For LCL, shipments deemed as HIGH RISK by the DAWR or MPI will typically be subject to the fee of $30 w/m with a minimum of $100-$300 per shipment, depending on the carrier. 
  • Sulfuryl Fluoride will be the treatment used.
  • If your shipment is deemed sensitive to the fumigant and CANNOT be fumigated, ocean freight carriers may offer non-fumigated services based on availability.
Please do not ignore it! Below is just a sample of correspondence on cargo shipped to Australia. The shipper was unable to provide a valid fumigation certificate at the destination.
…the fumigation certificate is incorrectly declared … Fumigation was completed over the weekend, and Quarantine released the container today. Cargo should be unpacked and available for collection in the next day or two … Please note that the freight will not be released until these charges are paid…
Sea freight from U.S.
For FCL shipping from the USA, shippers must request in advance to obtain fumigation charges.

Sea freight


Australian and New Zealand quarantine regulations

The most restricted countries are Australia and New Zealand. You may refer to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

Timber-bearing insects pose a significant quarantine risk on international shipping to Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, all timber used in FCL containers shipped from the USA must be treated before the container can be considered for immediate release. This also relates to the exposed timber components of the container itself.

Quarantine's concern relates to timber pests and the cleanliness of internationally shipping sea freight containers.

All conditions prescribed for international shipping from the USA by the Quarantine and Customs Authorities must be met before any international shipping cargo can be removed from a terminal or breakbulk depot.


The following steps should be taken to ensure prompt delivery of goods shipping from the USA to Australia and New Zealand without detention by the Quarantine Authorities:

  • All ocean freight bills have a code indicating a wood used in packing or securing cargo shipping from the USA in containers. Suppose the wood is used in international shipping containers to Australia. In that case, all documentation must have a packing declaration with a fumigation certificate of the international shipping container or a treatment certificate of the wood used.
  • For FCL containers, if shipping goods are not subject to quarantine inspection and the timber components, such as the floor and linings, have been treated by an acceptable method. The international shipping container is free to move anywhere, provided the packaging meets quarantine requirements and the global shipping container is clean.
  • Regarding practicality, timber and alternative materials such as cardboard, plastic, new jute, or metals should be avoided in international shipping from the USA to Australia and New Zealand. Suppose timber crates, cases, pallets, or dunnage are used in an international shipment. In that case, the timber should have been treated by one of the methods approved by Australia/New Zealand Plant Quarantine.
  • The international shipping container must be clean and free from soil, plant, and animal contaminants such as grains, flour, meat, bones, hides, and skin.
  • Straw packing, rice hulls, and similar plant materials are prohibited for international shipping from the USA and, therefore, should not be used as packing for any international shipments. Alternative materials such as shredded paper, wood wool, or synthetic materials are acceptable for international shipping from the USA, provided they are not contaminated with the material, which could be a quarantine risk.

Whenever possible, international shipping containers from the USA to Australia and New Zealand are cleared through quarantine on documentation. Still, several are inspected at the importer's premises to verify this international shipping documentation. Where infringements of quarantine requirements are found, all subsequent consignments from that exporter may be directed to a depot for clearance. Apart from the delay and all the possible prejudice to subsequent international shipments, all remedial action costs will be charged to the consignee.

You may download and see a form of Australian Wood-packing declaration for international shipping of sea freight to Australia in this link.


Shipping from the USA LCL

LCL containers shipping from the USA and carrying goods for delivery to approved break-bulk depots, where regular quarantine inspections of internationally shipping cargo can be undertaken, do not necessarily have to beat any special requirements. However, fumigation will be undertaken if an infestation is found in any international shipping wooden crates or cases. The cost to the exporter in the shape of treatment charges, delay, and inconvenience in such international shipping may well outweigh the small additional costs of using treated timber when making up the international shipping crates and cases.


For your guidance, we would also draw your attention to the following additional restrictions on international shipping from the USA to Australia and New Zealand:

(a) Fumigation of shipping from the USA household goods and personal effects will not permit the immediate release of containers. Containers carrying these goods must pass through an approved depot for unpacking, and the treatment of such assets is subject to quarantine.

(b) Internationally, shipping containers must be free from soil, plant material, and contamination from animal products. They are thoroughly cleaning the inside and outside of international shipping containers before the shipment will remove contamination. It could alleviate the need for expensive, time-consuming quarantine treatment of international shipments in Australia and New Zealand. All contaminated international shipping containers detected entering Australia and New Zealand are treated before release.

(c) Any international shipping material of a plant origin or likely to carry any disease or pests of plants is subject to quarantine. Some international shipping items are prohibited except by special permit. Internationally shipping FCL sea freight containers of agricultural products emanating from the UK and NW Continent (now Khapra beetle area) must be preceded by a packers certificate of the internationally shipping container cleanliness before packing, a fumigation certificate for the empty internationally shipping container (not required if a container is not lined), and a phytosanitary certificate.

(d) Items such as international shipping from the USA motor vehicles or internationally shipping agricultural machinery contaminated with soil must be cleaned before release. Steam-cleaning before the shipment will ensure the international shipping cargo will be in an acceptable condition on arrival, but this can never be guaranteed.

(e) Phostoxin is the proprietary name for aluminum phosphide. It is applied in solid form, usually as tablets, and relies on a reaction with moisture in the air to release phosphine gas. Use is limited and commonly where, an international shipping commodity is known to have an adverse reaction with methyl bromide. PLEASE NOTE: it can only be used as an international shipping commodity fumigant and is not an accepted timber treatment method in international shipments to Australia or New Zealand.


Shipping from the USA FCL

To ensure that no expensive delays happen to your international shipping cargo on arrival and to ensure that it is immediately released for onward movement into the country, we recommend that you take the following precautions during international shipping from the USA to Australia and New Zealand:

(1) If using your own or leased international shipping container, ensure that its exposed timber components have been permanently treated to the Quarantine Authorities' international shipping requirements and the container is registered with them. Otherwise, the international shipping containers must be fumigated within 21 days before the international shipment.

(2) Where possible, do not use in your international shipping from the USA any wood for pallets, packaging, dunnage, or securing materials if you can find suitable alternative arrangements not subject to quarantine regulations, for example, Internationally shipping paper products, cardboard, plastic products, fibreboard, cardboard, metal, clean dry used motor tires, inflatable dunnage, wood-wool, and metal or plastic strapping. Chipboards, plywood, and particleboard are also suitable, provided they are new and manufactured in Canada, Europe, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, or the USA.

Limited international shipping of timber products is not acceptable; neither is international shipping of materials such as straw, rice hulls, or similar plant materials.

(3) Where wood is used for internationally shipping pallets, packaging, dunnage, or securing material, then it must meet quarantine requirements in one of two ways:

(i) Be permanently treated with approved international shipping preservatives such as copper-chromium-arsenic salts or copper-chromium-boron salts.
(ii) Be temporarily disinfected by one of the approved international shipping methods below. Timber treated by one of these methods must be packed in a container used in international shipping or shipped within 21 days of treatment.
(a) Methyl Bromide fumigation
(b) Sulphuryl Fluoride (Vikane)
(c) Heat or kiln sterilization
(d) Steaming
(e) Immersion in a hot liquid

Further information related to international shipping from the USA to Australia or New Zealand may be obtained by consulting the following publications available from your local ACA Containers Office:

(a) Internationally shipping Cargo Containers – Quarantine Aspects and Procedures. Australian Quarantine Service.

(b) Summary of Australian Plant and Animal Quarantine Requirements in international shipping. Australian Quarantine Service.

(c) Requirements for internationally shipping sea freight Containers and Containerised Cargo. Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. New Zealand Forest Service.


Methyl bromide fumigation is the most practical and economical method of timber treatment in international shipping. Loaded international shipping containers may be fumigated to treat the international shipping containers' exposed timber components, timber packaging, or cargo. ACA International can arrange for your global shipping container to be fumigated before international shipping if you require this service or on the arrival of your internationally shipping cargo if your quarantine documents are not in order.

A fumigation certificate for international shipping from the USA to Australia or New Zealand must be completed and signed by the fumigation contractor, who must comply with ACOP (Approved Code of Practice) to control substances hazardous to health.

The international shipper must complete the quarantine declaration section of the Export Cargo International Shipping Instructions for coding on the manifest (IEF).

The international shipper will forward certificates and declarations for internationally shipping timber treatment to the consignee with invoices or international shipping documents.

Where fumigation has been carried out by ACA International or their agent on behalf of the international shipper, fumigation certificates will be forwarded centrally. 

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