Wood packaging material import controls

Import requirements for wood and wood packaging material (including dunnage) entering the European Community – ISPM15

On the 1st March 2005 new measures were enforced by the European Community and its member states for wood packaging material (coniferous and non-coniferous raw wood) used for the import of objects of all kinds from all countries, with the exception of Switzerland.  In particular the relevant provisions of the Plant Health Directive 200/89/EC on wood packaging material were aligned with provisions of the FAO International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (SPM15) on Guidelines for regulating wood packaging material in international trade.  ISPM15 was adopted in 2002 and an increasing number of countries are putting in place import requirements in line with this phytosanitary standard.   The measures of the European Community are to practically eliminate the risk for most quarantine pests such as Asian Longhorn Beetle and Pine Wood Nematode and significantly reduce the risk from a number of other pests that may be associated with that material.

The new rules, which are set out in Commission Directive 2004/102/EC, have been incorporated into our national legislation.

Specific requirements of the European Community

From the 1st March 2005 wood packaging material (such as packing cases, cases, boxes, crates, drums and similar packings, pallets, box pallets and other load boards, pallet collars) can only be imported into the European Community if they meet the following requirements. 

The wood packaging material shall:

  • be made from debarked round wood (applies from 1st January 2009), and
  • be subject to one of the approved measures as specified in ISPM15, notably;
    • heat treatment of the wood packaging material that achieves a minimum wood core temperature of 56 degrees Celsius for a minimum of 30 minutes, or
    • the wood packaging material should be fumigated with Methyl bromide in alignment with requirements described in Annex 1 of ISPM15 and
  • display a mark with;
    the two-letter ISO country code, a code identifying the producer and the code identifying the approved measure applied to the wood packaging material as specified in Annex II of ISPM15.


  • in the case of wood packaging material manufactured, repaired or recycled as of 1st March 2005, also the logo as specified in Annex II to ISPM15 ie the IPPC logo1.
    IPPC logo
    1 IPPC - International Plant Protection Convention, FAO Rome


An example of the correct marks as applied by in the United Kingdom for exporting wood packaging material to countries, which have implemented ISPM15 or that have implemented emergency measures requiring the material to be debarked eg China’s Announcement 2002/58.



SAMPLE MARK Country Code  
Sample mark Unique UKWPMMP Registration No
Leading zeros are optional if printing space is limited
Forestry Commission logo
The inclusion of the words'Forestry Commission' is optional if printing space is limited
IPPC logo Treatment code
(as appropriate)


Examples of marks on wood packaging material manufactured before 28th February 2005 (produced in Canada, Japan and the People’s Republic of China)

Sample mark



It is important to note that these requirements do not apply to raw wood of 6mm thickness or less, and wood packaging material constructed entirely from processed wood produced by glue, heat and pressure, or a combination thereof eg plywood, oriented strand board, particle board etc. Additionally the requirements do not apply to wood packaging material, which is simply being moved from one EU Member State to another.

Phytosanitary Certificates

There is no requirement for ISPM15 compliant wood packaging material to be accompanied with a phytosanitary certificate as the certification is provided via the wood mark.



From 1st January 2008 onwards, only dunnage which meets the requirements of ISPM15 will be allowed to enter the EU. Importers are therefore reminded of this important change to the import requirements for dunnage as material landed after this date which is not ISPM15 compliant will be subject to remedial action by our inspectors which could involved destruction by burning or re-export.

There is one exception. Dunnage such as bearers, stickers and spacers, which are integrated/ banded into cargoes of regulated wood, does not need to be marked to ISPM 15 standards. This because the phytosanitary certificate will cover the whole consignment and will certify that the dunnage, as well as the regulated wood, meets the landing requirements.

For bearers and stickers etc made from non-manufactured wood products and greater than 6 mm thickness which are integrated/banded into cargoes of non-regulated wood (e.g. tropical hardwoods, plywood and other wood panel products), as well as all dunnage associated with any other type of cargo, must be ISPM 15 compliant and marked, regardless of whether they are a regulated species or not.  (Updated 18 December 2007).