Among many Australian quarantine requirements, the entry into the country of wooden products infected with the non-indigenous form of the blue stain fungus is prohibited. This means that any wooden product that comes into Australia from overseas should have the documentation to prove that it has been treated in accordance with international specifications. Essentially, these specifications relate to the international standards for phytosanitary measures (ISPM) and, under section 15, they propose the use of things like heat treatments to prevent the spread of blue stain.
Although importers of wooden products are likely to be familiar with these rules, general importers are often unaware of them. This can cause an issue if the supplier is dispatching items to Australia using wooden packaging, such as a normal pallet delivery. What should you know about ISPM, so that your delivery's packaging is passed by customs and your goods reach you without any unnecessary delay?
Handling International Standards With Your Supplier
Although not used in every country of the globe, ISPM should be well-known by firms which regularly dispatch their goods on wooden pallets internationally. The trouble tends to come when buyers make a purchase of items from suppliers that are not already well-versed in exporting regulations. It is advisable, therefore, to specify the use of ISPM-compliant pallets with your supplier or to ensure that a courier is used which has the necessary know-how to ensure compliance.
What Makes ISPM Packaging Compliant?
Most compliant wooden packaging has either been heat treated or fumigated to meet ISPM15 specifications. In addition, kiln-drying the wood used to make things like boxes and pallets is an effective way of ensuring that its moisture content is vastly reduced. As a result, the likelihood of blue stain fungus being present in wooden packaging is minimised. Most manufacturers of pallets that have been through this process will indicate their products have done so by stamping "kiln-dried" or just "KD" on them. An ISPM15 mark should be on view which makes it easy for inspectors to assess the packaging and any kiln drying mark also present is usually placed near to it.
Like most systems, kiln drying and fumigation does not offer a 100 percent guarantee against blue stain fungi developing in wood in transit. Wood can absorb condensation over time, especially during long sea voyages, but it remains the best system for regulating the issue internationally and is Australia's chosen line of defence. Therefore, you should always confirm compliance with a supplier before ordering anything.