INSECT FUMIGATION CONTROL IN SHIPPING CONTAINERS
Fumigation is a type of pest control by which the disinfection procedure takes place in a dry way. This method, also known as a phytosanitary treatment, is widely used nowadays and increasingly common in different market segments (especially when it comes to transporting goods through containers). Apart from its pest control purpose, the container fumigation procedure is also required by national and international laws that regulate the transit of goods. Therefore, this procedure is an essential step for freight forwarders to consider before the shipment of any kind of goods, with emphasis on grains, vegetables, and wood materials/pallets. After all, container fumigation is the most effective way to ensure that the cargo and its packaging won’t contain any quarantine pest that may endanger the country of destination.
The container fumigation procedure aims to prevent the entry of exotic quarantine pests into the cargo’s country of destination. In this procedure, special products are used to eradicate or control the international spread of pests that already exist in the cargo’s origin, as well as those originating from other countries. There are several types of quarantine pests, but no species is as trivial as the Asian Lady Beetle. This beetle is commonly found in containers and wooden materials used for the accommodation of the loads. For this reason, it sets at the top of the list of the most fought quarantine pests worldwide. In order to receive the fumigant, the container must have its structures in good condition. The fumigation site must be isolated within a radius of 5 meters, and a sticker containing basic information such as date and time of start and end of treatment should be attached to the container’s door, as well as the information of the treating company and the technician responsible for the operation. The gas is injected through a probe inserted inside the container with the doors already closed. Employees must be properly protected by using personal protective equipment and it is also recommended that the fumigation site accommodates collective protective equipment. After the indicated exposure time, aeration should be carried out for the merchandise release.
Fumigation Certificate
Every type of good and its wooden packaging can be denied entry into the destination country. To verify that, the port authority asks for written permits, certificates or other proof of treatment. Because of that, every fumigated container, when the procedure is done in the right way and with a proper company, comes with a certificate. The fumigation is a legal requirement by the buyer, so the fumigation certificate is normally issued by the fumigator or by obtaining approval for fumigation from the licensing authority. The certificate is sometimes referred to as a pest-control certificate, and it is a document that confirms that any wooden packaging materials used in a cargo shipment have been correctly fumigated. This document contains details such as the treatment purpose, the fumigants used, and the temperature range. Methods of Fumigation The two main methods of fumigation are the Full container load (FCL) method and the Less-than container load (LCL) method. When a full container load of cargo is to be fumigated, the fumigant is pumped inside the closed container and the gas is kept inside for some time. Later, the container is opened and ventilated prior to closing and sealing for dispatch. This method applies to fumigation of empty containers as well as when it is fully laden. In the LCL method, the cargo is kept separately under an airtight covering such as a tarpaulin or plastic sheet and fumigated. The gas is allowed to stay inside for some time and later released. The cargo is then kept in the open to be completely rid of the fumes and for dissipation of the odour before it is taken for dispatch. Ventilation post-fumigation is critical to disperse the fumigants. Gases Used in Fumigation Methyl Bromide (CH3Br), phosphine (PH3), and sulfuryl fluoride (SO2F2), Chorine Dioxide etc. are some of the commonly used pesticide gases used to fumigate containers and loose cargo loads. Methyl Bromide The chemical formula of methyl bromide is CH3Br. It is used to treat infestation by several types of pests ranging from spiders, mites, and insects to nematodes and rodents. It is an odourless and non-inflammable gas. Phosphine Aluminium phosphide is a common phosphine releasing agent that has a chemical formula of AlP. It is used as pellets or grains and when it comes in contact with the atmospheric moisture or water, releases phosphine. This gas has a strong and pungent smell and is highly inflammable. It is most effective in treating infestation by insects. Sulfuryl Fluoride Sulfuryl fluoride (SO2F2), another odourless and non-inflammable gas is particularly effective against pests such as the Formosan termites, wood and carpet beetles, moths, cockroaches, bedbugs, rodents, etc. Some countries are gradually phasing out methyl bromide because of its ozone-depleting properties and replacing it with phosphine. The biggest hazard with all such fumigant gases is the danger of accidental inhalation. They can cause headaches, vomiting and nausea, impaired vision and eye irritation, or respiratory problems in human beings. Prolonged exposure to these gases may also lead to carcinogenic issues. Another danger is that with the prolonged and sometimes uncontrolled use of these fumigants and pesticides all over the world, pests also build up resistance against these pesticides. These days several pesticide-resistant insects and organisms are being discovered and newer chemicals have to be formulated to combat these. Any fumigation work has to be notified in advance to all employees of the organization where the fumigation will take place. Sufficient notices and warning signs should be posted on the premises and on-site where the fumigation is carried out, showing the activities, timings of fumigation, etc. When a shipping container is fumigated, it should have a notice or placard pasted on it in a visible position with details of the fumigation such as the party fumigating it, the start and end time, and the person responsible for the operation with his contact details. All non-essential staff should be moved away from the fumigation site. The staff who carry out the actual fumigation should wear the appropriate gas masks and personal protective gear to protect themselves from accidental inhalation and exposure to the fumigants. Exposure to fumigants can be significantly reduced by the use of loading and unloading equipment such as trolleys, forklifts, or pallet jacks. Ventilating the fumigation site properly after fumigation is very important to get rid of the fumes and odour of the fumigants. However, residues can still be found after this and hence precautions have to be followed.
The quarantine time after fumigation is normally 24 hours after which it has to be ventilated suitably before being released. In heat treatment, the wooden pallets are made to withstand temperatures of up to 56° C for about 30 minutes. The heat destroys all pests, their eggs, and fungal growths. This is the most environment-friendly method of pest control as there are no chemicals involved. Treated wooden materials are normally branded with an ISPM stamp. ISPM exempts items that are made of hardboard or plywood.
Fumigation Certificate and Phytosanitary Certificate A fumigation certificate or a phytosanitary certificate most importantly shows the following details: Certificate identification number Details of the authorized organization issuing the certificate Details of the authorized organization to which the certificate is issued Description, number of packages, and other details of the cargo The name of the fumigant that has been used to treat the cargo and the container or the heat treatment method used Purpose of the treatment Exporter’s address Importer’s address Place of origin of the cargo Container or conveyance details Port of destination or entry of the cargo The main difference between a fumigation certificate and a phytosanitary certificate is that the former is issued by the company that has completed the fumigation process while the latter is issued by authorized governmental bodies confirming that the cargo that is being exported has been treated to rid it of pests and that banned plants or animals are not being transported with the cargo. In some countries, the fumigation certificate is also known as a Pest-control certificate. The phytosanitary report or certificate may require fumigation to be carried out before applying for it. In other words, a consignment of cargo may require both.
Sterilization Inc.             Offices /  Warehouse            17 E. Lucy Street             Homestead, Fl 33030            clo2sterilization@gmail.com 305-760-9889
INSECT FUMIGATION CONTROL IN SHIPPING CONTAINERS
Fumigation is a type of pest control by which the disinfection procedure takes place in a dry way. This method, also known as a phytosanitary treatment, is widely used nowadays and increasingly common in different market segments (especially when it comes to transporting goods through containers). Apart from its pest control purpose, the container fumigation procedure is also required by national and international laws that regulate the transit of goods. Therefore, this procedure is an essential step for freight forwarders to consider before the shipment of any kind of goods, with emphasis on grains, vegetables, and wood materials/pallets. After all, container fumigation is the most effective way to ensure that the cargo and its packaging won’t contain any quarantine pest that may endanger the country of destination. The container fumigation procedure aims to prevent the entry of exotic quarantine pests into the cargo’s country of destination. In this procedure, special products are used to eradicate or control the international spread of pests that already exist in the cargo’s origin, as well as those originating from other countries. There are several types of quarantine pests, but no species is as trivial as the Asian Lady Beetle. This beetle is commonly found in containers and wooden materials used for the accommodation of the loads. For this reason, it sets at the top of the list of the most fought quarantine pests worldwide. In order to receive the fumigant, the container must have its structures in good condition. The fumigation site must be isolated within a radius of 5 meters, and a sticker containing basic information such as date and time of start and end of treatment should be attached to the container’s door, as well as the information of the treating company and the technician responsible for the operation. The gas is injected through a probe inserted inside the container with the doors already closed. Employees must be properly protected by using personal protective equipment and it is also recommended that the fumigation site accommodates collective protective equipment. After the indicated exposure time, aeration should be carried out for the merchandise release. Fumigation Certificate Every type of good and its wooden packaging can be denied entry into the destination country. To verify that, the port authority asks for written permits, certificates or other proof of treatment. Because of that, every fumigated container, when the procedure is done in the right way and with a proper company, comes with a certificate. The fumigation is a legal requirement by the buyer, so the fumigation certificate is normally issued by the fumigator or by obtaining approval for fumigation from the licensing authority. The certificate is sometimes referred to as a pest-control certificate, and it is a document that confirms that any wooden packaging materials used in a cargo shipment have been correctly fumigated. This document contains details such as the treatment purpose, the fumigants used, and the temperature range. Methods of Fumigation The two main methods of fumigation are the Full container load (FCL) method and the Less-than container load (LCL) method. When a full container load of cargo is to be fumigated, the fumigant is pumped inside the closed container and the gas is kept inside for some time. Later, the container is opened and ventilated prior to closing and sealing for dispatch. This method applies to fumigation of empty containers as well as when it is fully laden. In the LCL method, the cargo is kept separately under an airtight covering such as a tarpaulin or plastic sheet and fumigated. The gas is allowed to stay inside for some time and later released. The cargo is then kept in the open to be completely rid of the fumes and for dissipation of the odour before it is taken for dispatch. Ventilation post-fumigation is critical to disperse the fumigants. Gases Used in Fumigation Methyl Bromide (CH3Br), phosphine (PH3), and sulfuryl fluoride (SO2F2), Chorine Dioxide etc. are some of the commonly used pesticide gases used to fumigate containers and loose cargo loads. Methyl Bromide The chemical formula of methyl bromide is CH3Br. It is used to treat infestation by several types of pests ranging from spiders, mites, and insects to nematodes and rodents. It is an odourless and non-inflammable gas. Phosphine Aluminium phosphide is a common phosphine releasing agent that has a chemical formula of AlP. It is used as pellets or grains and when it comes in contact with the atmospheric moisture or water, releases phosphine. This gas has a strong and pungent smell and is highly inflammable. It is most effective in treating infestation by insects. Sulfuryl Fluoride Sulfuryl fluoride (SO2F2), another odourless and non-inflammable gas is particularly effective against pests such as the Formosan termites, wood and carpet beetles, moths, cockroaches, bedbugs, rodents, etc. Some countries are gradually phasing out methyl bromide because of its ozone-depleting properties and replacing it with phosphine. The biggest hazard with all such fumigant gases is the danger of accidental inhalation. They can cause headaches, vomiting and nausea, impaired vision and eye irritation, or respiratory problems in human beings. Prolonged exposure to these gases may also lead to carcinogenic issues. Another danger is that with the prolonged and sometimes uncontrolled use of these fumigants and pesticides all over the world, pests also build up resistance against these pesticides. These days several pesticide-resistant insects and organisms are being discovered and newer chemicals have to be formulated to combat these. Any fumigation work has to be notified in advance to all employees of the organization where the fumigation will take place. Sufficient notices and warning signs should be posted on the premises and on-site where the fumigation is carried out, showing the activities, timings of fumigation, etc. When a shipping container is fumigated, it should have a notice or placard pasted on it in a visible position with details of the fumigation such as the party fumigating it, the start and end time, and the person responsible for the operation with his contact details. All non-essential staff should be moved away from the fumigation site. The staff who carry out the actual fumigation should wear the appropriate gas masks and personal protective gear to protect themselves from accidental inhalation and exposure to the fumigants. Exposure to fumigants can be significantly reduced by the use of loading and unloading equipment such as trolleys, forklifts, or pallet jacks. Ventilating the fumigation site properly after fumigation is very important to get rid of the fumes and odour of the fumigants. However, residues can still be found after this and hence precautions have to be followed.
Sterilization Inc.             Offices /  Warehouse            17 E. Lucy Street             Homestead, Fl 33030            clo2sterilization@gmail.com 305-760-9889
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