It’s exciting when your product finds a new market overseas. Finding a niche at home makes a successful business, but a market abroad makes your brand global–even if that new market is just across the border in Canada or Mexico. But exporting does come with a more complicated supply chain, as well as various requirements that need to be met. Colors, logos, disclosures, electrical voltages, and other aspects of your product may need to be adjusted in order to comply with requirements in your new market.
Shipping your products also becomes more complicated when you begin exporting. You’ll need to ensure you meet the labeling requirements for customs entry into the receiving country or find a partner who can manage it for you. You’ll also need to know the pallet requirements for export, or your products could be left idling in quarantine, having been denied permission to enter the country. The good news is that there’s really only one pallet requirement for export that you’ll need to fulfill.
The ISPM-15 Pallet Requirement for Export
The only real requirements for pallets being exported are those set by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), which is charged with preventing damage to plants from introduced, non-native pests. The IPPC creates and issues International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) in order to ensure that plant-destroying pests are not transported along with products in international trade. One standard that this body has set, ISPM-15, concerns wood packaging and is effectively the only internationally recognized pallet requirement for export.
ISPM pallets must be made from debarked wood and then treated with either heat or methyl bromide.
ISPM-15 lays out measures for wood pallets and wood packaging in order to ensure that wood-boring or wood-eating insects cannot be transported. ISPM pallets must be made from debarked wood and then treated with either heat or methyl bromide to ensure that they cannot be reinfested and that they remain pest-free. Seventy-nine of the world’s largest economies have adopted and implemented ISPM-15 and it is the only truly binding international pallet requirement for export. This means that in order to export your products on a pallet, that pallet will either have to be compliant with ISPM-15 or exempt from it.
ISPM-Exempt Pallets for Export
Pallets that are made of wood processed to the point that no pests could survive are exempt from ISPM-15, and the text of the measure specifically mentions that particle board, oriented strand board, plywood, and veneer are exempt. Corrugated paper products like cardboard are also assumed to be exempt.
Pallets made of materials other than wood–like steel, aluminum, or plastic–are of course exempt from ISPM requirements since they will not attract and harbor wood-boring insects. Aside from these requirements, any other pallet-related choices are entirely up to the manufacturer and the end retailer, but choosing a higher-quality pallet for export than the typical stringer pallet may offer some advantages.
Choosing Higher Quality Pallets for Export
The majority of pallets chosen for export are wood stringer pallets, and there are a few reasons for this. The most basic reason is that they are cheaper than more durable pallets. Moreover, strong, reusable pallets are meant to make multiple trips through the supply chain, and a return journey for a pallet going overseas isn’t always possible. The disadvantage of this is that it leaves manufacturers dealing with breakage-prone stringer pallets that can damage product and waste the money and time that went into arranging its export. Another issue with wood stringer pallets is that not all of these pallets are properly heat-treated or fumigated. If your company is in the habit of buying the cheapest pallets possible, you may find that your employees use whatever pallets are handy rather than the ones intended for export, and this mistake may see your products quarantined.
Plastic pallets offered by a pallet pooling service are not only exempt from ISPM-15, they are also stronger and more durable than either stringer or wood block pallets.
If you’re exporting products overseas, then you may have no other choice than to use stringer pallets, but export to Canada or Mexico opens up the opportunity of using a pallet rental program offering much higher-quality platforms. Plastic pallets offered by a pallet pooling service are not only exempt from ISPM-15, they are also stronger and more durable than either stringer or wood block pallets and therefore are able to reduce product damage during transportation. The iGPS plastic pallet rental program provides companies across North America with a durable plastic pallet that not only meets pallet requirements for export, but is safer, lighter, and more hygienic–at a price comparable to stringer pallets. iGPS can free you from managing your own pallet supply while also freeing you from worries about ISPM-15.
The iGPS pallet pool offers a plastic pallet that meets pallet requirements for export without requiring heat treatment or chemical fumigation, at an attractive cost. To use the environmentally friendly and sustainable pallet of the future, give our team a call at 1-800-884-0225, email a specialist at [email protected], or visit our contact page.
Image 2: Wikimedia User: Rhinokitty