Many goods and products are shipped internationally in wooden containers such as pallets and crates. The wood used to make these products are placed under the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures and enforced by the WTO (World Trade Organization). The purpose of these regulations is to prevent the spread of diseases and insects that may threaten the health of other natural forests. The following are the major procedures that supply companies are expected to follow.
The IPSM 15 standards apply to both hardwoods and softwoods and derived timber products. Those products that are less than 6 mm thick are exempt. Wood sources that are used in the production of pallets and crates are required to be debarked prior to use.
In order to effectively destroy and kill anything harmful that may be present in the wood materials, all timber must be heat treated prior to use. This process involves heating the wood to a core temperature of 56 degrees Celsius for at least 30 minutes. This usually requires the use of a heat drying process. This process is an acceptable alternative as long as the required core temperature is reached.
Another option in addition to the heat treatment method is a fumigation process. This route requires the wood be fumigated in a batch of methyl bromide that meets the specified amounts of concentration, temperature and duration. This is a least preferred option these days.
In addition to making sure that all materials undergo these processes, it is the suppliers responsibility to use the correct markings and labels on each pallet or crate. The markings must be easily seen and recognized on both sides of the packaging. A series of numbers and letters used denotes information such as country and region and the treatment method utilized.
The regulations described by IPSM 15 were put into place with the goal of protecting the native timber and forest supplies in each country involved in international trade. By complying with the standards, you are not only protecting other country’s and regions, but you are also preserving your native forests. If you are utilizing wooden pallets or crates for shipping purposes make sure that your supplier is following the regulations outlined by the IPSM 15 standard.