Pest prevention guidelines updated for container shipping

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Industry groups representing different parts of the container supply chain – the Bureau International des Containers (BIC), the Container Owners Association (COA), the Institute of International Container Lessors (IICL) and World Shipping Council (WSC) – are now launching an updated version of pest control guidelines for container shipping.

Every year, 241 million containers are transported across the seas with over US$7 trillion worth of food, clothes, electronics and other goods. While crucial for the smooth functioning of the global supply chain, containers and their cargoes can also harbour and transfer contaminating pests.

The updated Prevention of Pest Contamination of Containers: Joint Industry Guidelines for the Cleaning of Containers published by BIC, COA, IICL and WSC provide easy-to-use best practices to help container users carry out their responsibility to maintain proper protocols.

The original version of the Joint Industry Guidelines for the Cleaning of Containers, published in 2017, was well received by regulators and industry, and has become a valued source of guidance when it comes to preventing pest contamination. Since then, much has been learned more about the transfer of pests, climate conditions have changed, and trade has grown.

The introduction of new pests can severely upset an existing ecosystem, with serious ecological consequences and possibly billion dollar impacts on a nation’s economy. Regulators and national authorities play a central role in stopping the transfer of pests, but given the scale of global trade, it is prevention – stopping pests from entering cargo or containers in the first place – that is the best solution.

With the updated Prevention of Pest Contamination of Containers: Joint Industry Guidelines for the Cleaning of Containers BIC, COA, IICL and WSC are looking to further improve the level of prevention across the supply chain to stop the transfer of pests.

“When each party in international container supply chains makes sure to start and end their work with clean cargo and containers, then containers will reach their destination faster while our agriculture, forestry and natural resources are preserved,” says Lars Kjaer, senior vice-president of WSC.

All parties in the supply chain – manufacturers, exporters, packers, freight forwarders, inland logistics providers, warehouse storage providers, ocean carriers, and importers – must take responsibility for maintaining cargo and containers clean when in their care. By applying the best practices described in this guide the parties can keep containers and their cargoes clean, fulfilling their custodial responsibility and reducing the risk of pest contamination and transfer.

A copy of the guide can be downloaded here.