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, pallet collars and other load boards
  • dunnage (loose wood used to protect goods and their packaging)

These rules do not apply to processed, non solid wood packaging for example:

  • plywood
  • raw wood that’s 6mm thick or less
  • barrels for wines and spirits
  • gift boxes mades from processed wood, sawdust, shavings or cardboard as packing material

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 and you’ll need to transport the goods another way.

If you’re moving wood packaging from Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) to Northern Ireland, you’ll need to follow the rules for exporting solid wood packaging.

Import solid wood packaging

Solid wood packaging must meet the ISPM15 international standards if you use it to import goods into Great Britain.

If you move solid wood packaging from Northern Ireland to Great Britain, you do not need to meet ISPM15 standards. Conifer or soft wood packaging can either be bark-free or have a UK plant passport if it’s made out of conifer wood.

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 use wood packaging to export goods, check if the country you’re trading with accepts ISPM15 standards and if they have any other requirements.

You can either:

If you’re exporting solid wood packaging from Northern Ireland to the EU, you do not need to meet ISPM15 standards.

Moving packaging from Great Britain to Northern Ireland

If you’re moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, the wood packaging must meet ISPM15 standards.

Checks will be carried out on a risk-targeted basis only. Packaging from Great Britain is considered a very low risk.

Reusing and returning solid wood packaging

You can reuse undamaged and uninfested wood packaging in 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.