Customs Cracks Down on Wood Packing Materials

Effective November 1st, 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin penalizing any documented violations of wood packing materials regulations, eliminating its previous mandate allowing up to five violations prior to taking action. Each violation will result in a penalty and the annual reset of violations has been eliminated.

Dangers of Untreated WPM

The introduction of exotic wood pests can lead to serious environmental impact if preventative measures are not put in place:

  • Detrimental ecological impact
    • Emerald Ash Borer
      • This beetle is native to northeastern Asia and was introduced to the U.S. in the 1990s by way of Michigan.
      • Causing slow extinction of ash trees, significant to U.S. lumber industry.
    • Damage to domestic and global lumber, fruit, and nut industries
      • Reduction in trade and damage to harvests.
    • Expensive and fruitless extermination efforts
      • Extermination has yielded few positive outcomes.

Changes in Compliance

The change will improve compliance with requirements for non-exempt WPM that have been effective since 2005. Non-exempt materials include crates, boxes, and wood used to support cargo.

Wood packing materials must be heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide in the place of origin to ensure that harmful pests are destroyed.

Per usual, there must be visible and legible markings certifying treatment of WPM; these markings must be approved by the International Plant Protection Convention under its appropriate regulation.

Any WPM of foreign origin without correct and compliant markings or infested with timber pests is deemed untreated and must be exported promptly. Parties responsible for the violation must obey the emergency action stipulations and are responsible for any and all costs associated with exports.

CBP Guidance

As trade industry members, you are encouraged to educate your supply chains about ISPM 15 requirements and follow updates as the effective deadline approaches.

AUTHOR: Cityana Demase, Compliance Specialist Intern

Moby Duck: How One Overboard Container Changed the World

In 1992, a shipping container fell overboard as it traveled from Hong Kong across the Pacific.  No one knew that 25 years later, those 28,000 plastic rubber bath toys would lead to a much deeper understanding of earth’s ocean currents and the impact of plastic pollution.

Nicknamed the “friendly floatees” by their international audience, ducks have washed up on the shores of Hawaii and Alaska, while other were discovered stuck in Arctic ice. A few crossed where the Titanic sank near the coast of Newfoundland, and at least one is believed to have been found on a beach in Scotland.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer, traced the ship’s movement from where it all began.  He has since been able to track the rate of progress, thanks to international support of fellow scientists and environmental enthusiasts.

Roughly 2,000 ducks have notoriously found a home in the North Pacific Gyre, a circular current that runs from Japan to Southeast Alaska, Kodiak, and the Aleutian Islands.  Specifically, in the Great Pacidic Garbage Patch – a traveling island of garbage trapped by the surrounding currents.  The ducks have been key in calculating how long it takes to complete the full gyre circuit and raising awareness of the global ocean trash problem.  While international shipping is just a drop in the bucket, it is estimated that 350 to 10,000 cargo container are lost at sea every year.

Travel patterns of the Friendly Floatees. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Donovan Hohn, author of “Moby Duck: When 28,800 Bath Toys Are Lost At Sea,” immortalized the ducks’ heroic and continuous journey to spotlight plastic pollution and its longevity in marine ecosystems.

With over 11 known gyres over the world, understanding these ocean currents will help climatologists predict the effects of climate change and the impact to the environment.  But the question still remains, who is responsible for the waste floating around in our ecosystem?

Green Worldwide Shipping is committed to creating sustainable international freight forwarding solutions.

For more information on how Green contributes, read our UN Global Compact Annual Communication on Progress.

To start moving freight forward, Request a Quotation today!


Tate Elliott

Import Specialist

Green Worldwide Shipping, LLC

Where Did the Freight Peak Season Go?

As the year winds down, carriers and shippers engage in an annual dance commonly known as the holiday peak season; but in 2017, carriers just haven’t been able to set the pace.

After several years of consolidation and vessel sharing planning, carriers believe they finally landed on the framework that would bring the containerized freight market back to health.  Unfortunately, the numbers were just too close for this peak season as capacity overhang offset spot rates.

While U.S. imports have been strong, extra capacity has eroded carrier-attempted general rate increases (GRI).  Extra capacity from 2016 coupled with a new injection of ten extra-loader vessels has kept spot rates steady heading into Golden Week, a national Chinese holiday when manufacturing closes, marking the final push as shippers try to get product on the shelves.  Chinese manufacturing is also under scrutiny as the country’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) targeted, evaluated, and shut down thousands of factories and businesses failing to implement pollution controls.

Deliveries of new, completed mega-vessels with carrying capacities of 22,000 TEU will determine if shipping lines will be able to effectively cycle out excess volume in the coming year.  Fuel economies and port serviceability, for issues such as dredging maintenance and labor, are also closely tied to the model’s success.  For now, carriers are content to ride out the remainder of 2017 as long as rates remain profitable.

Environmental Inspections Shuts Down Chinese Manufacturing

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) concluded their latest round of month-long, on-site environmental inspections across eight local provinces. The Chinese government launched its first series of investigations in 2016, imposing over 440 million Yuan (65.4 million USD) in fines and holding 6,500 people accountable. (more…)

Spotlight on Wooden Bedroom Furniture Spurs AD/CVD

A Florida-based importer caught the attention of the U.S. government for evading payment of anti-dumping and countervailing duties of bedroom furniture from China when a competitor brought the case to court under the False Claims Act.  The importer is accused of classifying bedroom sets, dressers, beds, and nightstands as metal household furniture to intentionally avoid the 216.01% anti-dumping duty rate. (more…)