SPOTLIGHT NEWSLETTER

Increase in U.S. Customs Penalties for Wood Packing Material Violations

Since 2004, solid wood packaging materials (WPM) entering or transiting through the United States must be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide as outlined in the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15). The WPM must also be marked with an approved international logo certifying it has been appropriately treated.

The U.S. Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and U.S. Customs (CBP) require the immediate re-exportation of any unmarked WPM, as it is not in compliance with the ISPM 15 treatment and marking standard. APHIS and CBP will also require the immediate re-exportation of any marked WPM found to be infested with live wood-boring pests.

Enforcement on the above rule started in 2005 with informed compliance. Over time, CBP started to issue penalties if a party accrued five or more WPM violations. Effective Nov. 1, 2017, CBP edited its enforcement policy allowing for a penalty to be issued on any documented WPM violation.

Over the past several months, importers are reporting an increase in the number of penalties received from CBP for WPM violations. These penalties have generally been issued in the amount of the domestic value of the shipment! While eligible for pursuit of potential mitigation, these penalties can quickly become a major financial issue for importers.

To avoid shipments from being denied entry and avoid potential penalties, importers are encouraged to look towards alternatives to WPM and/or educate their supply chains about the ISPM 15 requirement to ensure any WPM used is compliant and free of infestation. Alternatives to WPM goods include packaging made of materials such as plywood, particle board, oriented strand board, plastic, steel, etc.

Below you will find general information on WPM requirements associated with ISPM 15:

  1. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/import-information/wood-packaging-material
  2. https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/931/~/requirements-for-wood-packaging-material-%28wpm%29-imports

If you have any questions on the above, please contact your DHL Global Forwarding representative or contact cbp.consulting@dhl.com