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Freight from the USA
Avoid ISPM15 issues | Palletizing at CFS | BMSB

Wood-packing (ISPM15) and Fumigation (BMSB)

Announcement on shipping cargo from the USA to Australia and New Zealand!: Since 2019, any ocean freight to Oceania, departing from the USA to the destinations in Oceania during the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) season from 1st of September until 30th of April of each year cannot be loaded unless a completed Fumigation Declaration, provided to the shipper along with our shipping instructions, is submitted to the ocean freight carrier.

The Fumigation Declaration must be submitted before cargo is delivered to the ocean freight carrier's terminal (CFS). If such a declaration is not received, cargo will remain on hold. Storage fees are on the shipper's account.

Otherwise, cargo should be fumigated at the carriers’ facility for the fee of $30-60 w/m with a minimum of $100-$300 per shipment, depending on the carrier. The fee will be included in the carrier's ocean freight and billed on our invoice. We never markup fumigation fees. 

If cargo is scheduled to arrive in Australia or New Zealand during the BMSB season and shippers do not provide a valid fumigation certificate or decline to fumigate their cargo by the ocean freight carrier, we cannot serve such shipments.

ISPM 15 rules in shipping cargo from the USA

Wood packing restrictions in international cargo transportation, also known as ISPM 15 rules, apply to all international freight that contains wooden packaging materials. These wood packing restrictions regulate by ISPM 15 rules and relate to preventing the spread of plant pests and diseases throughout the world when shipping cargo using packing materials containing raw wood.

These world shipping regulations were originated by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC - in March 2002 in order to put an end to restrictions encountered worldwide caused by a jumble of ever-varying import restrictions on wood.

Regarding shipping from the USA freight LCL, ISPM 15 rules particularly apply to shipping boxes, crates, and pallets containing wood packaging material: wooden boxes, wooden pallets, wooden crates, dunnages, drums, wood cases, etc. Other restrictions related to pest control in international cargo transportation may apply to the shipping cargo itself in certain circumstances. The most restricted countries are Australia and New Zealand.

U.S. shippers should be aware that ISPM15 requires that any cargo shipping from the U.S. overseas using any species of raw wood packaging must be fumigated or heat treated. The treatment must complete before the cargo departs from the USA. The fumigation should kill insects or fungus.

ispm15 mark in international shipping of sea freight

The United States of America has implemented ISPM 15 on all freight shipping from and to the USA since 2010. All cargo entered into the United States, which does not comply with ISPM 15, will require immediate fumigation. Otherwise, it is prohibited from being entered into the U.S. and will be re-exported or destroyed.

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

Below are samples of IPPS stamps on wooden pallets used in international cargo transportation from the USA overseas. The same stamps are required to ship from USA boxes and crates that contain wood packing materials unless a fumigation certificate is attached. Occasionally, officials at destinations may request fumigation certificates, regardless of whether the packaging is stamped.


US fumigation mark in ocean freight      U.S. ISPM 15 mark in ocean freight     ISPM15 mark in ocean freight pallet for the international shipping 


The ISPM 15 stamp on shipping boxes, crates, and pallets made using raw wood, proves that packaging has been heat-treated and complies with ISPM 15 regulations.

Avoiding problems related to ISPM 15 in shipping freight LCL

Think ahead. Avoid problems related to ISPM 15 regulations in shipping goods from the USA. The ISPM 15 restrictions on shipping cargo from the U.S. overseas should not scare you. Keep in mind that the ISPM 15 rules basically regulate how you pack your shipping cargo, not the cargo itself. It prohibits using non-manufactured wood packing materials (also called solid wood packaging materials or SWPM). Most of the time, the commodity shipping from the USA overseas is not subject to ISPM 15.

Non-manufactured wood packing materials, in respect of shipping from the USA goods in boxes, crates, and on pallets, are defined as "wood packing other than comprised wholly of wood-based products such as plywood, particleboard, oriented strand board, veneer, wood wool, etc., which has been manufactured using glue, heat, and pressure or a combination thereof."

The easiest way to avoid problems related to ISPM 15 is not to use non-manufactured wood packing materials in international cargo transportation from the USA. Ship cargo from the USA on certified ISPM 15 pallets. Pack your goods with cardboard, plywood, veneer, etc. Otherwise, do not use wood in your packing at all. Use plastic shipping supplies.

When you pack your goods for transportation from the U.S. overseas, keep in mind the following:

Please keep in mind that the ISPM 15 regulations in international cargo transportation fall into two key areas:

  1. The shipping freight itself
  2. Providing proper documentation related to ISPM 15
That means that besides the proper packing of exporting goods to international transportation, you should pay attention to ISPM 15-related documentation. The documents have to be available before the initiation of cargo transportation from the USA. 

In reality, different countries in the world have different levels of restrictions related to ISPM 15. For example, if you are exporting goods from the U.S. to Australia or New Zealand, then be prepared that your cargo and ISPM 15-related documentation will be checked especially carefully. Cargo trans-shipped via Hong Kong or Singapore most likely will be subject to ISPM 15 documentation verification as well. Types and forms of such documents may vary from country to country.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) regulations for Oceania

Since 2019, any ocean freight to Oceania, departing from the USA to the destinations in Oceania during the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) season from 1st of September until 30th of April of each year cannot be loaded unless a completed Fumigation Declaration, provided to the shipper along with our shipping instructions, is submitted to the ocean freight carrier.

Ocean freight carriers are 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). 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 account of cargo and could be significant.
In short, the regulation requires that all shipments deemed as high risk by DAWR and MPI standards be treated before loading from high-risk origin countries of which the USA is named. With consolidated cargo, the rule states that if one shipment in the container is considered high risk, the entire container is considered 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 to that effect 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 be typically subject to the fee of $30-60 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 CAN NOT 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 U.S. to Australia and New Zealand, shippers must request in advance to obtain fumigation charges.
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