The regulations, in place since September 2005, are designed to prevent the introduction of non-native timber pests to the USA.

Non-exempt wood packaging material imported into the USA must have been treated at approved facilities in the places of origin, and carry a visible, permanent mark that certifies the treatment.

Any wood packaging material of foreign origin found without the legitimate markings or infested with a timber pest will be considered in violation of the regulations. CBP has announced that from 1st November 2017, responsible parties in violation may be issued a penalty. 

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WWL guidance on wooden packaging

It is important to consider the cleanliness of the cargo carrier, who must always comply with the same requirements as the cargo they carry. WWL already advises its customers that all wood products involved in cargo handling such as dunnage and the crate/pallet itself, must be treated and stamped per the requirements of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15).

However, given the announcement of more stricter enforcement, it seems appropriate to issue a reminder of the regulations and our best practice advice for packaging:

Inside and out  

It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure their products are clean when they are delivered to port. Products should be delivered early enough to ensure ample time for inspection, which varies depending on destination.

In addition to the wooden packaging regulations, some important things to watch out for include:

  • There should be no evident traces of food or drink, whether consumed by humans or carried as commercial produce
  • All oil and grease stains must be removed from inside and outside the product
  • Remove all animal and insect life, including traces of any faeces
  • Any traces of dirt, even splashed of dirty water on the underside of the product, must be removed
  • All plant material must be removed. This includes leaves, twigs, grass, straw, bark and roots

Read more: WWL's clean cargo guide