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Wood Packaging Material: Heat Treatment Requirements Anticipated this Year

Canadian Trucking Alliance 2015-03-04

Courtesy of the Canadian Trucking Alliance via the BCTA


The Canadian Trucking Alliance anticipates a US rule in 2015 that removes an exemption from heat treatment and marking requirements for wood packaging materials originating in Canada, which would then trigger a harmonized two-year phase-in period in both countries.

Penalties assessed by the US for non-compliance with the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 for WPM will generally apply against the importer unless a carrier failed to comply with the related Emergency Action Notice issued by US Customs and Border Protection. In that case, the penalty is against the party responsible under the custodial bond. Penalties will be steep where the EAN is not followed (three times the entered value of the merchandise). If a party has more than five violations in one fiscal year, additional penalties could apply. Furthermore, industry will incur demurrage charges for cargo holds where non-compliant WPM results in offloads. However, CBP has indicated that self-reporting non-compliant wood to CBP could mitigate future penalty.

Although the joint US-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council could still delay publication of the US rule further, CTA encourages carriers to communicate with supply chain partners to understand the implications of a US rule and that all wood packaging, including dunnage, must be heat-treated. Carriers may wish to consider requiring ISPM-15 compliant wood in contracts.


In 2010, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service proposed to remove the exemption that allows WPM from Canada to enter the US without first meeting ISPM-15 treatment and marking requirements. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to determine how much Canada-US trade is carried on wood pallets or braced with wood material. In some sectors such as automotive, re-useable metal racks are preferred to secure goods and wood pallets are more of an exception. But for many industries and shippers, virtually all products moving across the border are stacked on wood pallets and sometimes braced and secured with wood blocks, shims and so forth to prevent shifting during transport. Wood originating offshore is already subject to heat treatment requirements. Only Canadian/US origin wood packaging will be newly enforced once US regulations are finalized.

For additional detail and resources, see the March 29, 2012, Bulletin article, “Update: Requirements for WPM Moving between Canada and the US.”

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