Loosely translated, ISPM 15 heat-treated packaging means “no problems in customs”.
Of course, that’s not entirely accurate, but if your pallets and other wooden shipping materials have been heat-treated by a certified supplier, you’ve already gone a long way if you’ll be shipping goods outside the EU.
ISPM 15 is an international standard adopted under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). This standard has to do with the treatment of wood for manufacturing packaging materials, as well as the marking of wooden packaging materials in accordance with ISPM 15.
Only enterprises certified by the Danish Agricultural Agency can heat-treat, produce, repair, and mark wooden packaging products that have been treated per ISPM 15. This applies to all kinds of wooden shipping materials, including pallets and bracing materials. Highly processed wood products, such as particle board and plywood, are not covered by these regulations, but be aware that individual countries may have specific requirements for imports.
Heat treatment has nothing to do with moisture in the wood. A thoroughly soaked Euro-pallet can still be heat-treated, while a dry expendable pallet has NOT reached the 56°C core temperature for 30 minutes as required by ISPM 15.
A heat-treated pallet must be marked with the protected IPPC mark on two visible surfaces. For bracing materials, one mark is required. All Euro-pallets manufactured since 2010 are standardly ISPM 15 treated, but there are still old Euro-pallets in circulation that have not been heat-treated.
It is very important that you have a handle on your wooden shipping materials. Having your goods rejected by customs can be an expensive experience. In the best case scenario, you can repack the goods and have the wooden packing materials returned, but we’ve heard of several instances where whole containers have been returned to the country of origin without a chance of repacking. This is expensive—in terms of transport, non-delivery, and goodwill on the part of customers.
If you have any doubts at all as to whether or not your wooden packing materials live up to the ISPM 15 requirements, feel free to contact us.