The Unknown Danger of Wood Packing Materials: Two May Seizures, Port of New Orleans
In the month of May U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at the Port of New Orleans discovered two separate non-compliant cargo shipments from South America. The first shipment was gum rosin from Brazil. Rosin comes from the oleoresin of living pine trees by distilling off the turpentine. It has a wide variety of uses, and is an ingredient in printing inks, photocopying, varnishes, adhesives, soda, soldering fluxes, and sealing wax. The second shipment was lumber with bark shipped from Suriname.
What these two shipments had in common was their wood packing materials lacked International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) 15 stamps. The IPPC has an international standard for wood packaging material to certify that it has been subjected to an approved treatment measure. This treatment is required due to the significant pest risk associated with untreated packing materials. Dangerous insects and their larvae can be burrowed into the wood materials and can escape the ship or port and invade the nearby environment. The IPCC 15 stamp must be visible and meet an approved design standard.
The two non-compliant wood packing materials and lumber with bark were placed in containers to be re-exported back to Brazil and Suriname.
There are a variety of reasons a shipper may not have IPPC stamps. However, a shipper should ensure that wood packing materials are treated, stamped, and properly exhibiting the markings. A new importer must do the proper research before shipping them internationally.
CBP will require remedial action for packing materials that are missing stamps, up to and including re-exportation of the entire shipment (including the imported commodity). In rare situations, CBP can allow for separation (manipulation) of the commodity from the non-compliant packing materials, depending on logistics and port resources.
When non-compliant packing materials are discovered, the resulting associated costs of the re-exportation and the possible penalties are the responsibilities of the importer, and may result in serious delays.
Additional penalties may be issued if importers are not acting to re-export the shipment in a timely manner.
“Inspecting wood packing materials of otherwise lawful shipments is one of the many, lesser known ways Office of Field Operations helps keep our country safe,” said New Orleans Area Port Director Terri Edwards. “It’s not the near-instant death of a narcotic like fentanyl, but an invasive species can gradually wreak havoc on the environment and our economy. Just look at the U.S. Forest Service’s list of invasive insects that have had a significant impact on the forests of North America. I am proud of our agriculture specialists for recognizing these potentially dangerous materials.”
During a typical day last year, CBP agriculture specialists across the nation seized 3,091 prohibited plant, meat, animal byproducts, and soil, and intercepted 250 insect pests at U.S. ports of entry. See what else CBP achieved on a typical day during 2020.
These seizures took place within the New Orleans Field Office, which covers ports of entry throughout the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.
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