A fumigation certificate validates whether all the wooden contents that are part of the cargo, such as the boxes, pallets, etc. have been chemically disinfected. It is also known as a pest-control certificate as the fumigation process gets rid of any pests that may be festering inside the wooden materials of the shipment.
A fumigation certificate essentially lets the customs department and the importer know that cargo has been treated with all the necessary fumigants and that it is pest-free. When you export goods, especially via sea, they tend to remain locked up inside the container for weeks, even months in some cases. The cargo undergoes many temperature and humidity changes before reaching its destination. These conditions give rise to pest infestation, especially in wooden objects.
Many countries have made it mandatory for cargo to undergo fumigation to gain customs clearance. Moreover, a lot of importers also ask for a fumigation certificate to make sure that the product inside the cargo is not infested. If you’re exporting internationally, getting a fumigation certificate for your cargo is always beneficial, and in several cases mandatory.
When exporting any wooden products, exporters have to carry out fumigation and exhibit the certificate. Additionally, if you’re using wooden packing materials like wooden pallets or stands, they need to undergo fumigation as well. A lot of exporters have shifted to using plastic packing materials to eliminate the risk of pest infestation and the need to fumigate the containers.
However, fumigation is only mandatory for wooden products. Exporters do not need to fumigate wooden derivative products like cardboard, particleboard, etc. Exporters can switch to using these materials as packaging materials to circumvent fumigation.
Every country has guidelines and legislation for allotting licenses to fumigation agencies. Once the agency receives the license, they can start taking fumigation contracts from the exporters. Once the cargo is fumigated, these government accredited agencies also issue a fumigation certificate.
Fumigation is a process of getting rid of termites, pests and other unwanted, harmful organisms by either poisoning or suffocating them. Fumigation experts spray the areas with various chemicals. These chemicals are also called fumigants. Generally, Methyl Bromide is the most widely used fumigant. However, many agencies also use Chloropicrin, Phosphate, Dichloropropene, Methyl Isocyanate, Hydrogen Cyanide, Sulfuryl Fluoride, Formaldehyde, etc. as fumigants.
Once the container is packed and closed, fumigators inject the chemicals into the container via specially designed equipment. The closed doors help the gas in covering the entire container and keep it from leaking. However, this process is banned while transporting many food products and other edible products for direct consumption.
As an exporter, you have the option to fumigate your cargo at your factory/godown or the port/ICD. Once you’ve packed the goods into the container, contact a government certified fumigation agency and inform them about your requirements and the contents of your cargo. Since the charges may vary for different agencies, you may want to get in touch with multiple service providers and zero in on the most suitable fumigator.
Once you’ve picked the right fumigation expert for your cargo, fix a date for them to come to the facility and fumigate the shipment. The fumigators will arrive with their set of tools and fumigate your container(s). Once they’re satisfied with the treatment, they will issue a Fumigation Certificate (it may read “Pest-Control Certificate in some cases) for the container, and you can furnish the same to the customs department at the docks and to your importers.
The cost of fumigating your cargo depends on factors like the type of fumigants used and the surface area that needs disinfecting. If you have a full container load (FCL cargo), you’re better off handing out the contract to fumigate your entire container rather than get charged per pallet. Only go for per pallet charges in case of a less than container load (LCL) cargo.
Fumigation agencies typically charge Rs 1000-5000 per container for FCL and around Rs 500 per pallet for LCL shipments.
Here's a sample structure of a fumiagtion certificate:-
Yes, all the wooden packing materials require a fumigation certificate. However, man-made materials derived from wood like particleboard, etc, do not need a fumigation certificate.
When carried out in accordance with the guidelines and keeping in mind the best scientific practices, fumigation is a completely safe method of pest control.
Since plywood is a wooden-derived product, it does not require a fumigation certificate.
As an importer, it’s necessary to ask for a fumigation certificate from your exporter if your country mandates it. Even in countries where a fumigation certificate isn’t mandatory, you can still ask your supplier to provide one as fumigation helps you avoid any pest-related mishaps.