Video series explains pest control best practices for containerized cargo

by Emily Atkins

International freight transport insurer TT Club has created a video series to educate shippers about avoiding the risks of transporting invasive pests across international boundaries.

The potential pest for contamination exists throughout the global freight supply chain. Both national legislatures and multinational regulators are keen to minimize potentially devastating consequences to agriculture and the natural environment that unwanted invasive pests can deliver.

TT Club advises shippers to always clean out a container before loading.

The responsibility for preventing these risks falls on everyone involved in moving cargo internationally.

“The condition of the structure of the ‘metal box’ and its cleanliness are clearly important elements in relation to pest movement,” said Peregrine Storrs-Fox TT’s risk management director.

“However, there needs to be focus attention on the condition of the goods themselves and any packaging or dunnaging materials to ensure that they are not contaminated either. We have attempted to emphasize both these aspects in these animations and are grateful also for input from partners in the Cargo Integrity Group”.

The four video clips, that can be seen here, demonstrate how the route taken by a road transport vehicle can affect cleanliness, as well as how mud and vegetation, however acquired, can harbour invasive pests, risking contamination before loading on board a ship.

They also highlight how packing freight units under bright lighting at night can attract unwanted insects, along with the risk of cargo from previous loads also introducing invasive creatures.

Container flows are complex, involving multiple handovers of control and transport modes. The shipping company, which often operates the container, has little direct control over or access to containers except, with the involvement of local operators, when they are empty in depots or at terminals. However, on many occasions containers are delivered empty for packing immediately after discharging the previous cargo.

A critical place of potential pest contamination is the packing point, over which the shipper exerts the most influence and control, either directly or via contractual agreement with the packer.

“It is clear therefore that an understanding by a number of parties about the interdependencies and mechanics of the supply chain is required to build effective, sustainable measures to mitigate the risks of transfer of invasive pests,” TT Club said. So too is an understanding of biology of the range of pests at the point of origin.

TT Club said it plans to continue communicating the consequences of these risks and the means of reducing them.