What Happens When You Aren’t ISPM-15 Compliant?

In the world of packaging and transportation, there are a wide array of regulations that contractors and manufacturers must follow.

While they can seem complicated, it is essential that you follow them. Among some of these regulations is ISPM-15, a standard that exists specifically for certain types of wooden packaging.

In this article, we’ll discuss what the ISPM-15 standard covers, what happens when you aren’t ISPM-15 compliant, and how you can avoid compliance issues when shipping ISPM-15 crates.

What Is ISPM-15?

ISPM wood packaging

ISPM-15 refers to the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15. It’s a regulatory document developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).

The standard exists to ensure pest-free, disease-free international shipments of solid wood materials.  Shipping contaminated boxes has been shown to detrimentally impact ecosystems in countries receiving defiled wood.

Standards implemented by the ISPM-15 cover storage areas, aircraft, containers, vessels, soil, and anything else that could contain and spread insects and diseases.

What’s Required?

This standard requires heat treatments for all wood packaging materials (WPMs) that exceed six millimeters in thickness and are used for export purposes.

Each piece of WPM is to be heated until the internal temperature of the wood reaches 132.8 degrees Fahrenheit (56 Celsius). The ISPM-15 also has requirements for heat chambers that are used to treat WPMs.

In addition to using heat chambers to produce ISPM-15 wooden crates, you may also opt for dielectric heating, methyl bromide, or conventional steam heating methods.

After WPMs are heat-treated, they are branded or stamped with an IPPC mark at least twice on opposite exterior sides of crates. This showcases that they are ISPM-15-certified wood crates. Third-party inspection services are then needed to ensure the WPMs comply with ISPM-15 standards. 

National plant protection organizations (NPPOs) govern phytosanitary standards in their respective territory or country. NPPOs, like the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) oversee compliance with ISPM-15 standards in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.

When Do You Need to Be ISPM-15 Compliant?

Wood packaging must be ISPM-15 compliant unless it was created with adhesives, pressure, heat, or any combination of these three manufacturing methods. Exempt WPMs include:

  • Processed Wood Materials (Hardboard, Plywood, etc.)
  • Heat-Treated Barrels
  • Sawdust
  • Packaging Less Than Six Millimeters in Thickness 

ISPM-15 standards must be applied to WPMs , including collars, dunnage, reels, pallets, crates, and bracing.

The Consequences of Not Staying ISPM-15 Compliant

NON-COMPLIANCE text on red round grungy texture stamp.

Although non-compliance with ISPM-15 regulations is handled differently in countries, the penalties for noncompliance involve similar damages. These retributions include:

  1. Penalties enforced by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (applicable to shipments within and coming to the U.S.). If a wood packaging violation is issued in the form of an Emergency Action Notification (EAN), the company responsible for the shipment must address the EAN within a suitable time frame or the shipment could be delayed.
  2. Immediate exportation of non-compliant WPMs that are trying to enter the U.S. The shipment will be sent back to the country from where it was originally shipped and denied entry to the U.S. until WPMs are ISPM-15 compliant

If non-compliant packaging manages to leave the U.S. and reaches its destination, the WPMs will be subjected to that country’s regulations regarding ISPM-15. Some countries may ship the package back to the U.S. or simply fumigate the whole shipment. 

However, businesses that knowingly export non-compliant WPMs are putting their shipments at risk. When you send noncompliant packages, you’re increasing the risk of costly damage due to contamination and shipment delays that may ultimately keep you from hitting your deadline.

How to Stay Compliant

There are many factors to consider when packaging and transporting ISPM-15 wooden crates. If you’re concerned about compliance, the best decision you can make is to partner with an ISPM-15-certified packaging company. When you work with experts, you’ll have someone on your side who can guide you every step of the way.

Learn More About ISPM-15 Compliance From Export Corporation

If you have questions about ISPM-15 requirements, turn to our team at Export Corporation. Founded in the mid-1940s, we provide custom packaging solutions to manufacturers in the military, aerospace, automotive, and commercial sectors. We hold a wide array of certifications, including ISPM-15, and can help you understand how to stay ISPM-15 compliant.

To request a consultation or to learn more about our services, please fill out our online form today.