Earlier this year, brown marmorated stink bugs were found in cargo of machinery, parts and tires bound for Australia and New Zealand orginating from North America. While the brown marmorated stink bug is a known agricultural pest in the US and Asia, to date, they have not spread to the Oceania region.
These stink bugs feed on fruit and vegetable crops, which can cause serious damage to the local agriculture. They go into hibernation in winter, often hiding in houses, ships, buildings and agricultural equipment.
Due to the risk of this pest spreading as an invasive species and threatening the agricultural industry in Oceania, both the Department of Agriculture in Australia and the Ministry for Primary Industries in New Zealand implemented new emergency regulations for cargo leaving North America for Oceania from late 2014. To summarise, all products shipped from North America must be pre-treated to ensure that there are no live stink bugs present when they leave for Oceania.
Pretreatment options become mandatory for all cargo loaded the the USA for New Zealand ports. These include a range of treatments including methyl bromide, heat treatment and sulfuryl fluoride.
The Ministy for Primary Industries released a new directive that all importers of cargo loaded from any US port must apply for a Biosecurity Authority Clearance Certificate (BACC) ahead of time.
Cargo affected include all breakbulk vehicles, machinery and parts – for agricultural, mining, earthmoving, construction, animal farming, timber felling, horticulture, fruit handling and food processing use – and automotive parts arriving in Australia from a US port.
These types of cargo must be treated prior to load within 96 hours with methyl bromide, sulfuryl fluoride for 24 hours, or heat treatment.
Once the cargo arrives in Australia, a full biosecurity inspection is conducted to ensure the cargo is approved by authorities for discharge.
At this stage Australian authorities will be enforcing the pre-treatment options until end of April 2015. They will be re-evaluated should there be further risks of infestations, and may well be re-introduced as a seasonal measure .
Bryan McCausland, Head of Commercial at WWL Oceania, acknowledges that the swift implementation of the regulations has caused disruptions. “It’s been tough for customers as the incident has been beyond their control. However, they understand the need for the regulations and that the treatment is a must to protect their products.”
Since January, WWL has been keeping customers updated on the situation via direct communication through Account Managers and notices on the www.2wglobal.com website.
“We will continue to work with the authorities and our customers to ensure that cargo is delivered into Oceania following the regulations,” says McCausland.
About the brown marmorated stink bug
The brown marmorated stink bug – often simply called the stink bug - is an insect that is native to China, Japan and Taiwan. In 1998 it accidentally arrived in the US; it is believed to have travelled there as a stowaway in packing crates. Since then it has become an agricultural pest, spreading to over 40 states. It has also appeared in some European countries.
Even though it’s only 1.7 cm long and the same width, this bug can destroy fruit and vegetable crops. It goes into hibernation in winter, resurfacing in warmer climates.