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February : A call for compliant wood-packaging material in international trade

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4 February, 2020

A call for compliant wood-packaging material in international trade

department of agriculture forestry and fisheries

In the context of ensuring fair and safe trade as well as observing the International Year of Plant Health 2020, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) is making a clarion call to the exporters, importers and all other role players involved in the international trading of agricultural and non-agricultural products involving wood-packaging material to comply with ISPM 15 (International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures - Guidelines for regulating wood-packaging material in international trade).

Untreated wood-packaging material can be a pathway for the introduction of pests of economic concern, which may negatively affect the country's natural resources, agriculture and forestry in particular. Regulated wood-packaging material includes coniferous and non-coniferous raw wood-packaging material. This covers wood-packaging material such as pallets, dunnage, crating, packing blocks, drums, cases, loading boards, pallet collars and skids, which can be present in any imported/exported consignments.

Currently, Heat Treatment (HT), Dielectric Heating (DH) and fumigation with Methyl Bromide (MB) or Sulphuryl Fluoride (SF) are the only approved treatments for wood-packaging material. These treatments are considered significantly effective against most pests of living trees associated with wood-packaging material. Irrespective of the type of treatment applied, wood packaging must be made of debarked wood.

Treated wood-packaging material should bear the appropriate International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) mark to certify that the wood-packaging material has been subjected to the approved phytosanitary measure. Markings should be rectangular or square in shape, surrounded by border lines with a vertical line separating IPPC logo from country information, legible, permanent and non-transferable, have no additional information within borders of the mark and must not be hand drawn. Markings should be placed in a visible location, on two opposite sides of the article being certified. The use of red or orange colours must be avoided because these are used only for hazardous goods. Remanufactured wood-packaging material must be re-treated and marked in accordance with ISPM 15.

Service providers are required to mark wood-packaging material with a treatment date as a traceability and control measure. The date must consist of a day, month and year and strictly be placed outside the borders of IPPC mark. Wood-packaging material can only be treated and marked by service providers that are registered with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development in terms of ISPM 15.

Organisations such as freight forwarders, cross border road transport associations, fresh produce exporters' forums, import and export agencies, post offices, air and maritime freight logistics companies, motor and mining industry, as well as other relevant organisations and or industries are requested to assist in raising awareness to their members and ensure compliance with ISPM 15 and related phytosanitary requirements. Compliance with ISPM 15 and other related phytosanitary measures will assist in ensuring smooth, fair and safe trade as well as enhancing economic growth. Any party that requires training on ISPM 15 can forward a request to the National Plant Protection Organisation of South Africa in the DALRRD. 

NB: Shipments/consignments with a non-complying wood-packaging material may be subject to treatment, destruction or refused entry.

For more media inquiries contact:

Media Liaison Officer: Reggie Ngcobo
Mobile: 082 883 2458

For technical information, please contact:

The National Plant Protection Organisation of South Africa (NPPOZA)

Directorate: Inspection Services: Leponti Molep
Tel.: 011 971 5119/012 309 8753
Email: or

Source: Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD)