Cleanliness of Shipping Containers

21 June 2023

Container cleanliness has become an important issue in the shipping and logistics industry. What constitutes a ‘clean’ container? Is it just a visual inspection of the inside and outside of a container, or a more thorough investigation? Some invasive species, commonly called ‘hitchhiker pests’ are easy to detect, sometimes on the outside of the container, and can be removed easily. Others are more difficult to spot and can live for several years without food and hide undetected in cracks and under the floors of sea containers. To assess what risk of infestation each import container presents can be difficult.

International agreements
The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is an intergovernmental treaty (and part of the UN) signed by more than 180 countries. It aims to protect the world’s plant resources from the introduction and spread of pests and promotes safe trade. Indonesia is a member of the IPPC.

To implement the IPPC standards the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) was established. The CPM promotes the full implementation of the convention’s objectives, including reviewing the state of plant protection in the world and actions to control the international spread of pests and their introduction into endangered areas; establishing and keeping under review the necessary institutional arrangements and procedures for the development and adoption of international standards; and adopting international standards.

See also our related article on the WCO’s Container Control Programme (CCP).

A separate CPM focus group on sea containers is dealing with cleanliness of sea containers. This focus group has recently produced a report with recommendations, to be implemented in 2024, which could revolutionise the way containers are handled.

In July this year, the IPPC will hold an international workshop on sea containers in Brisbane, Australia, where industry stakeholders such as container owners, shipping lines, container manufacturers, freight forwarders, port authorities, marine terminal operators, shippers, importers, exporters and biosecurity experts from around the world will discuss how best to implement the recommendations of the CPM focus group on sea containers.

This conference is tasked to come up with solutions that, whilst minimising the threat of infestations entering a country, will ensure an efficient movement of the container at each interchange point. A consensus must be reached between the biosecurity experts and those involved in the container logistics chain.

The IPPC Official Contact Point in Indonesia is Dr. Andi Muhammad Adnan – Director, Center for Plant Quarantine and Biosafety, Indonesia Agricultural Quarantine Agency.

Talk to Jalak Kargo Logistik about shipping containers and the various treatments that may be required. We handle all your international and domestic transport needs, through all major ports and airports in Indonesia. Our services include both exports and imports, customs clearance, trucking and warehousing. Jalak Kargo has an extensive network of offices and agents. Call us if you have project cargo or express courier consignments.

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