Wood packaging goods for import and export

You, or your packing service or freight forwarder, must make sure any solid wood packaging you use meets the requirements.

Solid wood packaging includes:

  • packing cases
  • boxes and crates
  • drums and similar packing
  • pallets, box pallets and pallet collars
  • dunnage (loose wood used to protect goods and their packaging)

These rules do not apply to processed woods like plywood, raw wood less than 6mm thick, or cardboard or other packaging materials.

What you need to do depends on whether you’re importing or exporting. If you do not follow the rules your packaging could be rejected or destroyed.

Import solid wood packaging

Solid wood packaging must meet the ISPM15 international standards if you import it from outside the EU.

If you import from the EU (except Portugal), you can specify less strict standards. Packaging can either be bark-free, or have a plant passport if it’s made out of conifer wood. If it’s kiln dried, it must also be marked ‘KD’.

You should specify the requirements for solid wood packaging in your contract with the exporter. This will help protect you if the packaging fails an inspection and you’re asked to pay for one or more of the following:

  • repackaging of the goods
  • treatment and marking of the wood packaging to meet ISPM15 standards
  • destruction of the wood packaging
  • return of the wood packaging and, if necessary, the goods inside it

If the packaging fails an inspection and you’re given the option to treat it, you can either:

If you are importing into Northern Ireland, check the special rules.

Export solid wood packaging

If you export packaging outside the EU, check if the country you’re trading with accepts ISPM15 standards and if they have any other requirements.

You can either:

Reusing and returning solid wood packaging

You can reuse undamaged and uninfested wood packaging in:

  • the EU
  • other countries that accept ISPM15

If ISPM15 compliant wood packaging has been repaired, remanufactured or changed in any way, you must arrange for it to be re-treated and re-marked to maintain the standard. Find a company authorised to carry out treatment to ISPM15 standards.

Get help

Contact the Forestry Commission if you need help.

plant.health@forestrycommission.gov.uk