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US crack down hard on exporters flouting packaging rules

Businesses exporting to the US are being warned that they face heavy fines if strict ISPM15 regulations on wood packaging are broken. The US Customs and Border Protection agency has advised that severe penalties will be levied on rule breakers with poor or incorrectly marked wood packaging and pallets.

Over the last two years strict rules have been phased in by more than 125 countries around the world stop the spread of pests which destroy woodland and forests. The new measures require all packaging from unprocessed wood to be heat treated or fumigated in a specified manner then stamped with an official mark and the name of the packaging producer.

The Timber and Packaging and Pallet Confederation, TIMCON, have supported the move but expressed concern that some companies may inadvertently fail to comply. Exporters violating the rules will find their goods exported and in receipt of a claim for damages which can total three times the value of the merchandise.

Jim Hardisty, MD of the UK fastest growing pallet company, goplasticpallets.com, has seen a doubling in demand for one-way plastic pallets since the rules came into force: “We've been hearing stories of goods being impounded and getting calls from exporters worried that their consignments will also be turned away. Many customers are now looking for low-cost plastic pallets because they don't harbour pests and are therefore exempt from ISPM15. Most businesses simply can't afford to take the risk of unnecessary hold ups and hassle”.

(1) ISPM15 regulations are part of the UN's global programme in plant quarantine which were introduced worldwide under an international treaty by the IPPC, International Plant Protection Convention.

(2) goplasticpallets.com has become one of the fastest expanding suppliers of plastic pallets in the UK The company has built successful relationships with suppliers on four continents and are now sole agents in the UK for the giant Belgian manufacturer IPS and Japanese pallet producer DIC. goplasticpallets.com has set new standards within the industry with its award-wining service.

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