IMPORTANT Reminder on Wood Packaging Material: Canada’s Draconian Rules for Non-Compliant Wood

Unwanted pests can kill our forests, and important regulations are in place to prevent insects sneaking into this country. However, the practical implications of some of the regulations are extreme.

Remember, wood packaging materials, including skids, container blocking, bracing and dunnage, on import to Canada must be ISPM 15 compliant and all wood so marked. And there are expensive, time-consuming consequences when inbound containers are examined and found to contain non-compliant wood packaging and/or evidence of live insects.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers at ports of entry enforce the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) non-compliant wood packaging regulations.

Evidence of insects is enough for the officer to require the container be fumigated and exported back to the country of origin. And here is the important issue. The CBSA/CFIA requires the container to be fumigated with methyl bromide before it is exported. And right now, there does not seem to be any methyl bromide in Canada.

One CIFFA member has had a groupage container stuck at the Port of Halifax since October 6th. First, it took 10 days for the CBSA to conduct the examination. Then, the fumigation and export order was issued. And, since then, hours have been spent trying to find methyl bromide with which to do the fumigation. As of writing, the forwarder has been advised that the necessary methyl bromide may be imported only around mid-December. By that time, the container should have been reported to Queen’s Warehouse (after 40 days in the country) and the demurrage charges will probably be worth more than the container contents.

Oh, and never mind that the container was fumigated before leaving India, and there is a fumigation certificate from India. Fumigation is not acceptable for importation to Canada. So, tell your agents to stop having Canadian-destined containers fumigated – it is a waste of time and money. Do instruct your agents to load only ISPM 15 compliant and marked wood packaging.

U.S. Customs Plans to Update CTPAT Best Practices, Minimum-Security Requirements and Compliance Certification

The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, better known as CTPAT, has a new logo, new spelling (no hyphen in its name or acronym anymore), and a new tag line: "Your Supply Chain's Strongest Link." But that's not all that's new with the cargo-security program, according to Liz Schmelzinger, director of CTPAT programs in U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP's) Office of Field Operations.

Outlining recent developments and future plans, Schmelzinger said she has asked her team to revamp CTPAT's best-practices recommendations, shifting from a catalogue of specific actions to a framework that could be adapted to companies of all sizes. About 30 percent of CTPAT members are small and medium-size companies with 70 employees or less, she said, noting that what would be achievable and affordable for a large company may not be for a smaller firm. "The notion of scalability will be critical to the best-practices framework," she said.

And, please advise your customers, Canadian importers, to instruct their suppliers to use only ISPM marked and compliant wood packaging.

We highly encourage members to share this information with their agents and customers and to clearly inform all parties of the risks and potential costs involved in non-compliant wood packaging materials. ISPM 15 compliant and marked wood is mandatory and shippers MUST include this information in their purchase orders and/or shipping requirements to all their overseas suppliers.


•                ISPM 15 standard

•                CFIA D-98-08: Entry Requirements for Wood Packaging Material into Canada

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